Evaluation of Cell-Mediated Immune Function Using the Cytotoxic T-Lymphocyte Assay

  • Gary R. Burleson
  • Florence G. Burleson
  • Rodney R. Dietert
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1803)


Evaluation of cell-mediated immunity (CMI) is a significant component in any assessment designed to predict the full range of potential immunotoxic risk underlying health risks. Among measures of CMI, the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) response is recognized as perhaps the most relevant functional measure that reflects cell-mediated acquired immune defense against viral infections and cancer. The CTL response against T-dependent antigens requires the cooperation of at least three different major categories of immune cells. These include professional antigen-presenting cells (e.g., dendritic cells), CD4+ T helper lymphocytes, and CD8+ T effector lymphocytes. It is also among the few functional responses dependent on and, hence, capable of evaluating effective antigen presentation via both class I and class II molecules of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). For this reason, the CTL assay is an excellent candidate for evaluation of potential immunotoxicity. This chapter provides an example of a mouse CTL assay against influenza virus that has been utilized for this purpose.

Key words

Cell-mediated immune function CMI Cytotoxic T lymphocyte CTL Influenza virus Natural infection Mouse 



The authors thank Janice Dietert for her editorial suggestions. It is noted that R.R. Dietert previously served as a consultant in developmental immunotoxicology for Burleson Research Technologies, Inc.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gary R. Burleson
    • 1
  • Florence G. Burleson
    • 1
  • Rodney R. Dietert
    • 2
  1. 1.Burleson Research Technologies, Inc. (BRT)MorrisvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Microbiology, College of Veterinary MedicineCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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