The effect of burn injury on CD8+ and CD4+ T cells in an irradiation model of homeostatic proliferation

Ian B. Buchanan, Robert Maile, Jeffrey A. Frelinger, Jeffrey H. Fair, Anthony A. Meyer, Bruce A. Cairns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Homeostatic proliferation of T cells has recently been shown to be an important mechanism in the host response to infection. However, its role in the T cell response to burn injury is unknown. In this study, we examine the effect of burn injury on CD4+ and CD8+ T cell homeostatic proliferation after irradiation. METHODS: Wild-type C57BL/6 female mice were irradiated with six grays ionizing radiation and 48 hours later, syngeneic whole splenocytes or purified CD4+ or CD8+ T cells labeled with carboxy-fluorescein diacetate, succinimidyl ester were adoptively transferred. Two days later, mice underwent a 20% burn injury, followed by splenocyte harvest 3 and 10 days after injury. RESULTS: Burn mice demonstrate increased splenic cellularity and CD8+ T cell proliferation after adoptive transfer of either purified CD8+ cells or whole spleen populations compared with unburned (sham) mice. In contrast, CD4+ T cell proliferation after burn injury is unchanged after adoptive transfer of whole spleen cells and drastically decreased after adoptive transfer of a purified CD4+ population compared with sham mice. Ten days after burn injury CD8+ T cells continue to demonstrate greater proliferation than CD4+ T cells. CONCLUSIONS: CD8+ T cells are more robust than CD4+ T cells in their proliferative response after burn injury. In addition, CD8+ T cell proliferation appears less reliant on other immune cells than purified CD4+ T cell proliferation. These data reiterate the importance of CD8+ T cells in the initial immune response to burn injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1062-1068
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Burn injury
  • CD8+ T cell
  • Homeostatic proliferation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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