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J Immunol. 2011 Oct 1;187(7):3555-64. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1101244. Epub 2011 Aug 31.

CD134 plus CD137 dual costimulation induces Eomesodermin in CD4 T cells to program cytotoxic Th1 differentiation.

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Department of Immunology, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT 06030, USA.


Cytotoxic CD4 Th1 cells are emerging as a therapeutically useful T cell lineage that can effectively target tumors, but until now the pathways that govern their differentiation have been poorly understood. We demonstrate that CD134 (OX40) costimulation programs naive self- and virus-reactive CD4 T cells to undergo in vivo differentiation into cytotoxic Th1 effectors. CD137 (4-1BB) costimulation maximized clonal expansion, and IL-2 was necessary for cytotoxic Th1 differentiation. Importantly, the T-box transcription factor Eomesodermin was critical for inducing the cytotoxic marker granzyme B. CD134 plus CD137 dual costimulation also imprinted a cytotoxic phenotype on bystanding CD4 T cells. Thus, to our knowledge, the current study identifies for the first time a specific costimulatory pathway and an intracellular mechanism relying on Eomesodermin that induces both Ag-specific and bystander cytotoxic CD4 Th1 cells. This mechanism might be therapeutically useful because CD134 plus CD137 dual costimulation induced CD4 T cell-dependent tumoricidal function in a mouse melanoma model.

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