T LYMPHOCYTES IN IMPLANT-ASSOCIATED POSTTRAUMATIC OSTEOMYELITIS: IDENTIFICATION OF CYTOTOXIC T EFFECTOR CELLS AT THE SITE OF INFECTION

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Abstract

In implant-associated posttraumatic osteomyelitis, a massive infiltration of leukocytes into the infected site is seen. As described previously, the most infiltrated cells were highly activated polymorphonuclear neutrophils. In addition, a considerable T-cell infiltrate was noted. Whereas our previous work was mainly concerned with the phenotypical and functional characterization of the polymorphonuclear neutrophils, we now analyzed T lymphocytes of 32 patients with implant-associated posttraumatic osteomyelitis. We found evidence for an expansion of CD8+ T cells in the peripheral blood of the patients and for an infiltration of these cells into the infected site. Further analysis of the surface-receptor pattern by three-color cytofluorometry revealed that the majority of these cells belonged to the cytotoxic-effector phenotype. Of note is that cytotoxic T cells are generally associated with virus infection. Thus, the detection of those cells in patients with bacterial infection was rather unexpected and points to a novel, not yet appreciated, role of CD8+ T cells also in the defense of bacterial infections.

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