Functions of CD8 T-cell subsets secreting different cytokine patterns

Semin Immunol. 1997 Apr;9(2):87-92. doi: 10.1006/smim.1997.0065.


CD8+ T cells can differentiate into two effector phenotypes, Tc1 and Tc2, secreting different cytokine patterns. Both subsets are cytotoxic via the perforin and Fas pathways, and both kill resting and activated B cells, ruling out the possibility of cognate help, although Tc2 cells may provide bystander help. Both subsets induce inflammation with similar cellular infiltrates. Tc1 cytokine synthesis is limited by two mechanisms--IL-4 induces a permanent deficiency in cytokine secretion, and rapid killing of target cells limits CD8+ T-cell activation and cytokine production. These multiple CD8 T-cell activities provide a versatile set of immune functions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cytokines / physiology
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic*
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Delayed
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism
  • Interleukin-4 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-5 / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology*


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-5
  • Interleukin-4
  • Interferon-gamma