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Am J Transplant. 2002 Jul;2(6):510-9.

Inability to induce tolerance through direct antigen presentation.

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UCSF Diabetes Center, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0540, USA.


Both the direct and indirect antigen presentation pathways are important mechanisms for T cell-mediated allograft rejection. Studies using knockout mice and monoclonal antibodies have demonstrated that CD4+ T cells are both necessary and sufficient for the rejection of allogeneic tissues, including skin, heart, and islet. Furthermore, combined blockade of the CD28/B7 and CD154/CD40 costimulatory pathways induces tolerance in multiple CD4+ T-cell dependent allograft models. In this study, we addressed the T-cell requirement for costimulation in direct antigen presentation. We demonstrated that class II-specific alloreactive T-cell receptor transgenic T cells were sufficient to mediate allograft rejection independent of costimulatory blockade. Analysis of the costimulatory capacity of different antigen presenting cell (APC) populations demonstrated that APCs resident within the donor skin, Langerhans cells, are potent stimulators not requiring CD28- or CD154-dependent costimulation for direct major histocompatibility complex (MHC) antigen presentation. These results complement previous work examining the role of costimulation on CD8+ T cells, supporting a model in which the effectiveness of costimulatory blockade in the setting of transplantation may be selective for the indirect pathway of MHC alloantigen presentation.

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