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J Immunol. 2006 Dec 1;177(11):7698-706.

Control of memory CD4 T cell recall by the CD28/B7 costimulatory pathway.

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  • 1Division of Transplantation, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 685 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.


The CD28/B7 costimulatory pathway is generally considered dispensable for memory T cell responses, largely based on in vitro studies demonstrating memory T cell activation in the absence of CD28 engagement by B7 ligands. However, the susceptibility of memory CD4 T cells, including central (CD62L(high)) and effector memory (T(EM); CD62L(low)) subsets, to inhibition of CD28-derived costimulation has not been closely examined. In this study, we demonstrate that inhibition of CD28/B7 costimulation with the B7-binding fusion molecule CTLA4Ig has profound and specific effects on secondary responses mediated by memory CD4 T cells generated by priming with Ag or infection with influenza virus. In vitro, CTLA4Ig substantially inhibits IL-2, but not IFN-gamma production from heterogeneous memory CD4 T cells specific for influenza hemagglutinin or OVA in response to peptide challenge. Moreover, IL-2 production from polyclonal influenza-specific memory CD4 T cells in response to virus challenge was completely abrogated by CTLA4Ig with IFN-gamma production partially inhibited. When administered in vivo, CTLA4Ig significantly blocks Ag-driven memory CD4 T cell proliferation and expansion, without affecting early recall and activation. Importantly, CTLA4Ig treatment in vivo induced a striking shift in the phenotype of the responding population from predominantly T(EM) in control-treated mice to predominantly central memory T cells in CTLA4Ig-treated mice, suggesting biased effects of CTLA4Ig on T(EM) responses. Our results identify a novel role for CD28/B7 as a regulator of memory T cell responses, and have important clinical implications for using CTLA4Ig to abrogate the pathologic consequences of T(EM) cells in autoimmunity and chronic disease.

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