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Immunity. 1997 Dec;7(6):885-95.

Lymphoproliferation in CTLA-4-deficient mice is mediated by costimulation-dependent activation of CD4+ T cells.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720, USA.


CTLA-4-deficient animals develop a fatal lymphoproliferative disorder. The cellular mechanism(s) responsible for this phenotype have not been determined. Here, we show that there is a preferential expansion of CD4+ T cells in CTLA-4(-/-) mice, which results in a skewing of the CD4/CD8 T cell ratio. In vivo antibody depletion of CD8+ T cells from birth does not alter the onset or the severity of the CD28-dependent lymphoproliferative disorder. In contrast, CD4+ T cell depletion completely prevents all features characteristic of the lymphoproliferation observed in CTLA-4-deficient mice. These results demonstrate that CD4+ T cells initiate the phenotype in the CTLA-4(-/-) mice. Further, these results suggest that the role of CTLA-4 in peripheral CD4+ versus CD8+ T cell homeostasis is distinct.

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