Consequences of Immune System Cells Stimulation by Superantigens

The excessive activation of an unusual high proportion of T lymphocytes and APCs in vivo and in vitro upon binding the SAg molecules triggers massive production of a wide array of inflammatory and other Th1/Th2 and APC-derived cytokines, by the stimulated cells. This process takes place through a complex of upregulated and downregulated immunological networks, activation signals, and the cooperation of adhesion molecules on target cells leading to a cascade of events including further release (besides cytokines and chemokines) of other pharmacologically active products, particularly those of

the arachidonic acid/lipid pathways.[ ,,,] This SAgmediated hyperstimulation of the immune system of the host can overwhelm the host regulatory network and thereby assist pathogen evasion of the adaptive immune response.[18] Moreover, the excessive and aberrant activation of T cells causes damage to tissues and organs and cell apoptosis which may result in disease and even death.[13,22] Superantigen activity, particularly SPE A, has been found in acute-phase serum samples from strepto-coccal disease patients.[4]

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