Date of Award


Degree Type

Restricted Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

First Advisor

Jerry Simecka

Second Advisor

S. Dan Dimitrijevich

Third Advisor

Ronald H. Goldfarb


The purpose of these studies was to characterize T helper cell responses in the lungs of mice after immunization and chronic respiratory infection. CD4+ T cells were the major population of T cells resident in the lung in comparison to CD8+ T cells. Polyclonal activation of resident CD4+T cells produced abundant levels of IL-4 in comparison to IFN-γ, indicating that Th2 cells were the major sub-population of CD4+ T cells. In contrast, resident CD8+ T cells were the sole producer of IFN-γ by naïve T lymphocytes. Furthermore, the distribution of T cells was similar between BALB/c, C3H/HeN, C57BL/6 and DBA/2N strains of mice. However differences in the distribution of CD8+T cells, as well as the levels of IL-4 and IFN-y production produced by resident T cells were found between C57 and the other strains of mice tested. These results demonstrate that host genetic factors may be involved in determining host susceptibility to respiratory disease. Differences in the intensity of antigenic stimulation provoke changes in the type of T cell response generated. Intranasal immunization with influenza (FLU) vaccine antigen alone initiated solely an antigen-specific Th2-like response. In contrast, the addition of the potent mucosal adjuvant cholera toxin (CT) in combination with FLU antigen induced not only resident Th2 responses, but also induced antigen-specific Th1-like responses. This change corresponded with a dramatic increase in the number of CD4+ T cells in the lung. Thus, intense immunization of respiratory T cells enhanced resident T helper cell responses, but also promoted the activation of Th1 responses. Chronic respiratory infection also elicited changes in the resident population of T cells consistent with pulmonary inflammatory immune responses. At early stages of infection, CD4+, but not CD8+ T cells increased in number within inductive respiratory lymphoid tissues (lower respiratory nodes [LRNs]). Between day 7 and 14 however, there was a dramatic increase in the number of CD4+ T cells in the lung. Interestingly, CD8+ T cells also increased in the lungs, suggesting their activation along mucosal sites during mycoplasma infection. Mycoplasma-specific IL-4 and IFN-γ production also increased in a tissue-specific/time-dependent manner. IL-4 production was initially observed in the LRNs, whereas significant levels of IL-4 and IFN-γ was produced in both tissues 14 days after infection. In comparison, IFN-γ was the predominate cytokine, produce at 14 days coinciding with pulmonary inflammation. Suggesting that intense activation promoted changes in the resident pulmonary Th2 environment, and possible is a major component of pulmonary inflammatory immune responses. Both CD4+ and CD8= T cells were shown to have a role in modulation of disease severity during mycoplasma disease. Observation of gross pulmonary lesions reveal that mycoplasma infected mice treated with anti-CD8 antibody showed increase clinical signs of disease and pronounced gross pulmonary lesions. Additionally the number of total mononuclear cells increased dramatically in the absence of CD8+ T cells. Thus, CD8+ T cells may have a regulatory role in controlling resident CD4+ T cells that increased 14 days after infection. Chemokine production is known to mediate the recruitment of lymphocytes to enhance the initiation of immunity as well as be responsible for modulating inflammatory responses. We find that mycoplasma increase the number of dendritic cells in the lung 14 days after infection, and stimulated the production of dendritic cell-derived ABCD-1 chemokine. Also, β-chemokine MIP-1α and MIB-1β production was observed during intense immunization as well as during mycoplasma infection. These results provide evidence for a potential mechanism through which changes in resident pulmonary T cell responses occur given the intensity of the immune response generated.


W 4 J77T 2001