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Gastroenterology. 2004 Jan;126(1):63-80.

CD40-mediated immune-nonimmune cell interactions induce mucosal fibroblast chemokines leading to T-cell transmigration.

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Division of Gastroenterology, University Hospitals of Cleveland, Case Western University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.



The CD40 pathway is a key mediator of inflammation and autoimmunity. We investigated cell adhesion molecule (CAM) up-regulation and chemokine production by CD40-positive human intestinal fibroblasts (HIF) and microvascular endothelial cells (HIMEC) induced by CD40 ligand (CD40L)-positive T cells and soluble CD40L and their effect on T-cell adhesion and transmigration.


Expression of CD40, CD40L, and CAM was assessed by immunohistochemistry, confocal microscopy and flow cytometric analysis, and chemokine production using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Calcein-labeled T cells were used to assay HIF adhesion and Transwell HIMEC transmigration.


Ligation of CD40-positive HIF and HIMEC by CD40L-positive T cells or soluble CD40L induced up-regulation of CAM expression as well as interleukin-8 and RANTES production. The specificity of these responses was shown by inhibition with a CD40L blocking antibody and by CD40 signaling-dependent p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphorylation. On CD40 ligation, HIF increased their T-cell binding capacity and generated chemoattractants able to induce T-cell migration through HIMEC monolayers.


Activation of the CD40/CD40L system in the gut mucosa may trigger a self-sustaining loop of immune-nonimmune cell interactions leading to an antigen-independent influx of T cells that contributes to chronic inflammation.

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