Further dissection of the functional heterogeneity within the OKT 4 + and OKT8 + human T cell subsets

Y. Thomas, L. Rogozinski, P. Rothman, L. E. Rabbani, S. Andrews, O. H. Irigoyen, L. Chess

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Previous studies have suggested functional heterogeneity within the OKT4 + and the OKT8 + populations. For example, after activation the OKT4 + population contains not only helper cells but also cells capable of suppressing B cell differentiation. Previous studies also indicate that the reciprocal T cell population, OKT8 +, does not provide helper activity but contains cytotoxic effector cells and radiosensitive cells important in the suppression of B cell differentiation. Using a new differentiation antigen, OKT17, which recognizes a surface antigen present on the majority of resting normal peripheral T lymphocytes but is present only on a subset of OKT4 + cells after activation, evidence was obtained that two functionally mature subsets can be distinguished within the OKT4 + population itself: OKT4 +17 + radiosensitive suppressor cells and OKT4 +17 - radiosensitive helper cells. Recently, another monoclonal antibody, OKT20, has been described which is present on a small percentage of resting lymphocytes but is expressed in varying proportions on activated T cells. Functional analysis of normal resting human T lymphocytes demonstrated that the OKT20-depleted T cell subset was able to generate cytotoxic cells and to suppress antibody production to the same extent as did OKT8 + cells. On the other hand, when unselected T lymphocytes were cultured for six days in a mixed lymphocyte reaction and then depleted of OKT20 reactive cells, the cytotoxic effector T cells were eliminated. In contrast, OKT20-depleted T cells after identical activation were still able to suppress antibody production. These data provide evidence that following activation of OKT8 + cells, the OKT20 differentiation antigen becomes selectively expressed on cytotoxic effectors but not on suppressor cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8S-14S
JournalJournal of Clinical Immunology
Issue numberSuppl. 3
StatePublished - Dec 1 1982
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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