Cell injury releases endogenous adjuvants that stimulate cytotoxic T cell responses

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Pathology

Publication Date


Document Type



3T3 Cells; *Adjuvants, Immunologic; Animals; Cell Line; Cytosol; Drosophila; HIV Envelope Protein gp120; Mice; Mice, Inbred BALB C; Mice, Inbred C57BL; Ovalbumin; T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


General immunostimulants (adjuvants) are essential for generating immunity to many antigens. In bacterial infections, adjuvants are provided by components of the microorganism, e.g., lipopolysaccharide. However, it is unclear what provides the adjuvant effect for immune responses that are generated to tumors and many viruses. Here we show that cell injury and death of tumor or even normal cells provide a potent adjuvant effect for the stimulation of cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses. This adjuvant activity is constitutively present in the cytoplasm of cells and is increased in the cytoplasm of cells dying by apoptosis. The release of these components stimulates immune responses both locally and at a distance, and provides a simple mechanism to alert the immune system to potential danger in almost all pathological situations.

DOI of Published Version



Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Dec 19;97(26):14590-5. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID