CCL2 Inhibits the Apoptosis Program Induced by Growth Factor Deprivation, Rescuing Functional T Cells
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The precise mechanisms involved in the switch between the clonal expansion and contraction phases of a CD8 T cell response remain to be fully elucidated. One of the mechanisms implicated in the contraction phase is cytokine deprivation, which triggers apoptosis in these cells. CCR2 chemokine receptor is up-regulated following IL-2 deprivation, and its ligand CCL2 plays an essential role preventing apoptosis induced by IL-2 withdrawal not only in CTLL2 cells, but also in mouse Ag-activated primary CD8 T cells because it rescued functional CD8 T cells from deprivation induced apoptosis, promoting proliferation in response to subsequent addition of IL-2 or to secondary antigenic challenges. Thus, up-regulation of the CCR2 upon growth factor withdrawal together with the protective effects of CCL2, represent a double-edged survival strategy, protecting cells from apoptosis and enabling them to migrate toward sites where Ag and/or growth factors are available.