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J Immunol. 2001 Jul 1;167(1):156-62.

IL-12 augments CD8+ T cell development for contact hypersensitivity responses and circumvents anti-CD154 antibody-mediated inhibition.

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  • 1Department of Immunology and Urological Institute, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA.


During sensitization with dinitrofluorobenzene for contact hypersensitivity (CHS) responses, hapten-specific CD8(+) T cells develop into IFN-gamma-producing cells, and CD4(+) T cells develop into IL-4/IL-5-producing cells. Administration of IL-12 during sensitization skews CD4(+) T cell development to IFN-gamma-producing cells, resulting in exaggerated CHS responses. In the current report we tested the role of IL-12 on CD8(+) T cell development during sensitization and elicitation of CHS to dinitrofluorobenzene. Administration of IL-12 during hapten sensitization induced the expression of IL-12Rbeta2 on both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells, augmented IFN-gamma production by these T cell populations, and increased the magnitude and duration of the CHS response to hapten challenge. CHS responses were virtually identical in wild-type and IL-12 p40(-/-) mice. Since engagement of CD40 on APC may stimulate IL-12 production, we also tested the role of CD40-CD154 interactions on the development of IFN-gamma-producing CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells following hapten sensitization. Development of IFN-gamma-producing CD4(+) T cells during hapten sensitization was absent in wild-type mice treated with anti-CD154 mAb or in CD154(-/-) mice. In contrast, the absence of CD40-CD154 signaling had little or no impact on the development of IFN-gamma-producing CD8(+) T cells. These results demonstrate that the development of hapten-specific Th1 effector CD4(+) T cells in CHS requires both CD40-CD154 interactions and IL-12, whereas the development of IFN-gamma-producing effector CD8(+) T cells can occur independently of these pathways.

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