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Eur J Immunol. 1999 Dec;29(12):3914-24.

Triggering of T cell proliferation through CD28 induces GATA-3 and promotes T helper type 2 differentiation in vitro and in vivo.

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Institute for Virology and Immunobiology, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany.


The relative contribution of T cell receptor-versus CD28-mediated signals in co-stimulation of resting CD4 T cells is thought to influence their functional differentiation towards T helper (Th) 1 versus Th2 subsets. We have used a conventional and a mitogenic CD28-specific monoclonal antibody to assess the effect of polyclonal T cell activation through CD28 alone on CD4 subset differentiation. In vivo, mitogenic but not conventional anti-CD28 induces massive lymphocytosis, the Th2 cytokines interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-10, and Th2-dependent immunoglobulin isotypes, most notably IgE. In vitro, it is shown that mitogenic anti-CD28 primes for IL-4-dependent induction of IL-4 expression much more efficiently than conventional co-stimulation. At the molecular level, we show for the first time that the activation of the "Th2 promoting" transcription factor GATA-3 requires co-stimulation by CD28 and is also induced by mitogenic anti-CD28 alone. We suggest that CD28-dependent induction of GATA-3 in concert with other transcription factors, which are preferentially induced by strong CD28-signals, primes CD4 T cells for IL-4-dependent Th2 differentiaton.

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