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Eur J Immunol. 1996 Apr;26(4):858-62.

Evidence that induction of tolerance in vivo involves active signaling via a B7 ligand-dependent mechanism: CTLA4-Ig protects V beta 8+ T cells from tolerance induction by the superantigen staphylococcal enterotoxin B.

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Basel Institute for Immunology, Switzerland.


Co-stimulation through CD28 is thought to be necessary for the activation of unprimed CD4+ T cells, which are otherwise rendered tolerant. However, we previously found that CD4+ T cell priming was normal or augmented in mice which overexpressed a soluble form of CTLA4 where co-stimulation through CD28 was abrogated. To investigate this CD4+ T cell response, we exploited the capacity of the superantigen staphylococcal enterotoxin B to stimulate T lymphocytes bearing V beta 8+, which represent approximately 30% of all CD4+ T cells. In litter-mate controls of CTLA4-Ig transgenic mice, immunization with staphylococcal enterotoxin B leads to expansion, followed by deletion of V beta 8+ T cells, and the remaining cells are tolerant when stimulated in vitro. Comparable expansion and deletion of V beta 8 T cells occurs in CTLA4-Ig transgenic mice. However, in contrast to normal mice, the remaining V beta 8+ T cells from CTLA4-Ig transgenic mice are not anergic and remain responsive to superantigen in vitro.

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