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Eur J Immunol. 2005 Apr;35(4):1086-96.

Kinetics of costimulatory molecule expression by T cells and dendritic cells during the induction of tolerance versus immunity in vivo.

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Institute of Immunology and Infection Research, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.


Steady-state dendritic cells (DC) present peptide-MHC complexes to T cells in a tolerogenic manner, presumably because of deficient costimulation. However, it is clear that the path to tolerance involves initial T cell activation, suggesting that the deficit may lie in late-acting costimulatory molecules. With this in mind we have investigated the kinetics of expression of several costimulatory pairs on DC and OVA-reactive T cells after i.v. injection of mice with peptide and LPS (immunity), or peptide alone (tolerance). We find that T cells up-regulate CD154, OX40, RANKL and PD-1 whether they are destined for tolerance or immunity, although there are some differences in the levels and length of expression. In contrast, when analyzing DC, we found that up-regulation of CD80, CD86, CD40, RANK and PDL-1 occurred only when peptide was co-administered with LPS. These data give a picture of the T cell looking for costimulatory cues that are not forthcoming when pMHC is presented by steady-state DC, leading to tolerance. However, we did see a strong and rapid up-regulation of RANKL on T cells that occurred specifically when peptide was given in the absence of LPS, suggesting a possible positive signal influencing the decision between tolerance and immunity.

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