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Eur J Immunol. 1995 Feb;25(2):587-95.

CD28 activation promotes Th2 subset differentiation by human CD4+ cells.

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Division of Geographic Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106-4983.


Ligation of CD28 provides a costimulatory signal to T cells necessary for their activation resulting in increased interleukin (IL)-2 production in vitro, but its role in IL-4 and other cytokine production and functional differentiation of T helper (Th) cells remains uncertain. We studied the pattern of cytokine production by highly purified human adult and neonatal CD4+ T cells activated with anti-CD3, phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) and ionomycin, or phytohemagglutinin (PHA) in the presence or absence of anti-CD28 in repetitive stimulation-rest cycles. Initial stimulation of CD4+ cells with anti-CD3 (or the mitogens PHA or PMA+ionomycin) and anti-CD28 monoclonal antibodies induced IL-4, IL-5 and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) production and augmented IL-2 production (6- to 11-fold) compared to cells stimulated with anti-CD3 or mitogen alone. The anti-CD28-induced cytokine production corresponded with augmented IL-4 and IL-5 mRNA levels suggesting increased gene expression and/or mRNA stabilization. Most striking, however, was the progressively enhanced IL-4 and IL-5 production and diminished IL-2 and IFN-gamma production with repetitive consecutive cycles of CD28 stimulation. The enhanced Th2-like response correlated with an increased frequency of IL-4-secreting cells; up to 70% of the cells produced IL-4 on the third round of stimulation compared to only 5% after the first stimulation as determined by ELISPOT. CD28 activation also promoted a Th2 response in naive neonatal CD4+ cells, indicating that Th cells are induced to express a Th2 response rather than preferential expansion of already established Th2-type cells. This CD28-mediated response was IL-4 independent, since enhanced IL-5 production with repetitive stimulation cycles was not affected in the presence of neutralizing anti-IL-4 antibodies. These results indicate that CD28 activation may play an important role in the differentiation of the Th2 subset in humans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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