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The Role of Non-Cognate T Cell Stimulation during Intracellular Bacterial Infection

Abstract

Intra-macrophage bacterial infections cause significant morbidity and mortality in both the developed and developing world. Protective host immune responses to these infections initially requires the activation and expansion of pathogen-specific CD4 Th1 cells within lymphoid tissues and subsequent relocation of these effector cells to sites of infection. After entering infected tissues, the elicitation of Th1 bactericidal activity can be triggered by cognate or non-cognate signals that are delivered by locally infected antigen-presenting cells and innate cells. However, the contribution of non-cognate stimulation to the resolution of bacterial infection remains poorly understood, especially in the context of a Th1 response. Here, we review the current data on Th1 cell activation and expansion in mouse models of Salmonella and Chlamydia infection and discuss the potential role of non-cognate Th1 cell stimulation in these disease models. Greater understanding of this pathway of T cell activation may lead to the design of therapeutics or vaccines to combat intra-macrophage pathogens.

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