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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Jul 20;101(29):10691-6. Epub 2004 Jul 12.

PD-L1-deficient mice show that PD-L1 on T cells, antigen-presenting cells, and host tissues negatively regulates T cells.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, 77 Avenue Louis Pasteur, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Both positive and negative regulatory roles have been suggested for the B7 family member PD-L1(B7-H1). PD-L1 is expressed on antigen-presenting cells (APCs), activated T cells, and a variety of tissues, but the functional significance of PD-L1 on each cell type is not yet clear. To dissect the functions of PD-L1 in vivo, we generated PD-L1-deficient (PD-L1(-/-)) mice. CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell responses were markedly enhanced in PD-L1(-/-) mice compared with wild-type mice in vitro and in vivo. PD-L1(-/-) dendritic cells stimulated greater wild-type CD4(+) T cell responses than wild-type dendritic cells, and PD-L1(-/-) CD4(+) T cells produced more cytokines than wild-type CD4(+) T cells in vitro, demonstrating an inhibitory role for PD-L1 on APCs and T cells. In vivo CD8(+) T cell responses also were significantly enhanced, indicating that PD-L1 has a role in limiting the expansion or survival of CD8(+) T cells. Studies using the myelin oligodendrocyte model of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis showed that PD-L1 on T cells and in host tissues limits responses of self-reactive CD4(+) T cells in vivo. PD-L1 deficiency converted the 129S4/SvJae strain from a resistant to experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis-susceptible strain. Transfer of encephalitogenic T cells from wild-type mice into PD-L1(-/-) recipients led to exacerbated disease. Disease was even more severe in PD-L1(-/-) recipients of PD-L1(-/-) T cells. These results demonstrate that PD-L1 on T cells, APCs, and host tissue inhibits naïve and effector T cell responses and plays a critical role in T cell tolerance.

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