In an attempt to elucidate the pathogenic role of a CD4+ cytotoxic T- cell clone NT4.2 isolated from the bone marrow of a patient with cyclosporine-dependent aplastic anaemia, we characterized the T-cell clone as well as its cytotoxicity against an autologous Epstein-Barr (EB) virus- transformed B-lymphoblastoid cell line (LCL). NT4-2 expressed BV21+ BJ2.7+ with a complementarity-determining region (CDR) 3 motif of SQGQGEVEQY which was homologous to that of a T-cell clone isolated from a patient with connective tissue disease. NT4.2 started to lyse LCL cells within 2 h and exerted maximal cytotoxicity within 3 h of incubation. The cytotoxicity required the presence of divalent cations and was not associated with DNA fragmentation of the target cells. Anti-CD59 monoclonal antibodies (MoAb) blocked the cytotoxicity to the same degree as antiCD3, HLA-DR or CD2 mAb. Flow cytometric analysis of the peripheral blood of this patient during remission after cyclosporine therapy revealed 1.7% of granulocytes to be deficient in CD59. These findings indicate that NT4.2 exerts its cytotoxicity through a perforin-mediated pathway, not a Fas/Fas ligand-dependent pathway, and that haemopoietic stem cells lacking CD59 may evade cytotoxic T lymphocytes, leading to the in vivo expansion of a paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria clone.
- Aplastic anaemia
- Perforin-mediated pathway