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Gastroenterology. 2008 Sep;135(3):980-8. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2008.05.076. Epub 2008 Jun 4.

B7-H1 on hepatocytes facilitates priming of specific CD8 T cells but limits the specific recall of primed responses.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine I, University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany.



The requirement for costimulation of CD8 T-cell priming and restimulation by nonprofessional antigen-presenting cells is unresolved. Here, we investigated whether B7-H1 (CD274, PD-L1) on hepatocytes (HC) is involved in the specific activation of naive CD8 T cells or activated CD8 T blasts.


Naive or activated CD8 T cells from transgenic OT-I mice were primed/restimulated by peptide-pulsed HC, and their proliferation and effector response were determined. We used blocking monoclonal antibodies against B7-H1 and HC from B7-H1-deficient mice to assign a costimulatory or coinhibitory role to B7-H1 for CD8 T-cell priming/restimulation.


Blockade of B7-H1 on HC down modulated interferon (IFN)-gamma production and proliferation of HC-primed CD8 T cells, indicating a costimulatory role for B7-H1 in priming CD8 T cells. In contrast, the PD-1/B7-H1 interaction inhibited proliferation and interferon-gamma release of effector/memory CD8 T blasts specifically restimulated by peptide-pulsed HC.


B7-H1 differentially modulates the different stages of the specific CD8 T-cell response triggered by HC, and, whereas it costimulates priming and cytokine responses of naive CD8 T cells, it coinhibits their specific local recall of effector cytokine responses. The interaction of CD8 T cells with B7-H1(+) HC can thus fine-tune proliferative and effector responses of specific CD8 T cells reacting locally to nonprofessional antigen-presenting cells infected with hepatotropic agents.

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