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J Clin Invest. 2001 Mar;107(5):575-83.

CD28-independent induction of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.

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Center for Neurologic Diseases, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is a T cell-mediated disease initiated by antigen-specific CD4(+) T cells. Signaling through CD28 is a critical second signal for activation of T cells, and CD28 knockout (CD28KO) mice have been reported to be resistant to induction of EAE. We now report that CD28KO mice have no intrinsic defect in mediating disease, because they developed EAE after passive transfer of primed T cells. After immunization, peripheral T cells from CD28KO mice were primed and developed memory phenotype, but had decreased antigen-specific IFN-gamma production as compared with cells from wild-type (WT) animals. Reimmunization of CD28KO mice brought out clinical disease and increased IFN-gamma production in vitro. Pathologically, there were cellular infiltrates in the central nervous system, in contrast to single-immunized mice. We show furthermore that blocking B7-1 or CTLA4, but not B7-2, in CD28KO mice induces disease after a single immunization. Thus, EAE can be induced in animals lacking CD28-dependent costimulation, suggesting that alternative costimulatory pathways were used. Blocking the OX40-OX40L costimulatory pathway differentially affected disease induction in CD28KO mice as compared with WT controls. Our data show that EAE may develop in the absence of CD28 T-cell costimulation. These findings have implications for therapies aimed at blocking costimulatory signals in autoimmune diseases.

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