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Eur J Immunol. 2004 Mar;34(3):743-751. doi: 10.1002/eji.200324278.

Expression and function of 4-1BB during CD4 versus CD8 T cell responses in vivo.

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Department of Immunology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.


4-1BBL(-/-) mice have a defect in recall CD8+ T cell responses to viruses, whereas CD4+ T cell responses to virus are unimpaired in these mice. In contrast, both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells respond to 4-1BB ligand (4-1BBL) in vitro. To clarify the role of 4-1BB/4-1BBL in CD4+ versus CD8+ T cell responses in vivo, we compared CD4 (OT-II) and CD8 (OT-I) TCR transgenic T cells responding to the same antigen in an in vivo adoptive transfer model in 4-1BBL(+/+) versus 4-1BBL(-/-) mice. During primary and secondary responses, expression of 4-1BB on in vivo-activated TCR transgenic T cells was earlier and more transient than previously observed in vitro, correlating with expression of the early activation antigen CD69 and preceding the transition to the CD44hi state. Although 4-1BB is expressed early in the primary response, there was no effect of 4-1BBL deficiency on initial CD8 T cell expansion and only a minor effect on initial CD4 T cell expansion. The major effect of 4-1BB/4-1BBL interaction is on the T cell recall response. This is due to effects of 4-1BBL on maintenance of T cell numbers at the end of the primary response with additional effects of 4-1BBL on secondary expansion of T cells.

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