Homeostatic T cell proliferation in a T cell-dendritic cell coculture system

Qing Ge, Deborah Palliser, Herman N. Eisen, Jianzhu Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Naïve T cells do not proliferate in normal individuals in the absence of antigen stimulation, but they proliferate spontaneously when T cells are severely depleted. We show here that coculture of syngeneic dendritic cells (DC) with naïve T cells expressing a single T cell receptor also results in T cell proliferation in the absence of foreign antigen. As in lymphopenic mice, where T cell proliferation depends upon DC, this response in the coculture system requires interaction of the T cells' T cell receptor with self-peptide-MHCs on DC. This in vitro proliferation also requires soluble factors, including IL-15 secreted by DC, and can be inhibited potently by cell-cell contact with CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells. The coculture system described may illuminate mechanisms that maintain stable numbers of T cells in normal individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2983-2988
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 5 2002
Externally publishedYes

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