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J Clin Invest. 2004 Jun;113(11):1624-30.

CD28 ligation induces transplantation tolerance by IFN-gamma-dependent depletion of T cells that recognize alloantigens.

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Human Immunogenetics Program, Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington 98109, USA.


Administration of an agonistic anti-CD28 mAb paradoxically inhibits donor T cell expansion and prevents graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in mice. Here we examined the mechanism of anti-CD28-mediated immunosuppression and found that anti-CD28 mAb activated, rather than blocked, CD28-mediated signaling in vivo. Anti-CD28 treatment prevented GVHD by selectively depleting alloantigen-activated donor T cells through apoptosis but spared the T cells that did not recognize recipient alloantigens. Overexpression of Bcl-x(L) did not protect T cells from depletion and did not affect GVHD prevention after anti-CD28 treatment. Depletion of activated T cells mediated through CD28 did not depend on the expression of death receptors Fas and TNF receptors type I and II, but both the depletion of activated T cells and the suppressive effect of anti-CD28 mAb on GVHD lethality required donor-derived IFN-gamma production. This study demonstrates that agonistic Ab's specific for the CD28 costimulatory molecule may be used as novel therapeutic agents to abrogate pathogenic T cell responses by selective depletion of activated T cells.

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