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Eur J Immunol. 1996 Jul;26(7):1435-42.

Ligation of TAPA-1 (CD81) or major histocompatibility complex class II in co-cultures of human B and T lymphocytes enhances interleukin-4 synthesis by antigen-specific CD4+ T cells.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA 94305, USA.


We have previously shown that CD4+ T cells from allergic individuals are predisposed to producing interleukin (IL)-4 in response to allergens. IL-4 production could be modulated by antigen concentration as well as by the type of antigen-presenting cells (APC), with B lymphocytes inducing greater quantities of IL-4 than monocytes. Using this system we examined IL-4 synthesis after culture of CD4+ T cells with B cells, monocytes, or both, as APC in the presence of allergen and a monoclonal antibody against CD81 (TAPA-1), a member of the TM4 superfamily of proteins that regulates activation, proliferation and trafficking of B cells. Addition of anti-CD81 mAb during culture enhanced IL-4 synthesis by 2- to 70-fold over that using an isotype-matched control mAb. Furthermore, anti-CD81 mAb enhanced IL-4 synthesis in CD4+ T cells only when CD4+ T cells were cultured with B cells but not monocytes as APC, indicating that anti-CD81 mAb affected IL-4 synthesis in T cells via interactions with B cells. However, pretreatment of either population separately with anti-CD81 mAb prior to culture had no effect on subsequent IL-4 synthesis, suggesting a requirement for temporal or cooperative interactions between T and B lymphocytes. In addition, anti-CD81 mAb enhanced IL-4 production but reduced CD4+ T cell antigen-specific proliferation, demonstrating that IL-4 production and proliferation by CD4+ T cells were inversely related. Finally, mAb to major histocompatibility complex class II but not to anti-CD19 also enhanced IL-4 synthesis when B lymphocytes were used as APC. In all instances, enhancement of CD4+ IL-4 synthesis correlated with the presence of large cell aggregates in T-B lymphocyte cocultures. These results indicate that the capacity of B cells to induce IL-4 can be significantly enhanced by ligation of particular molecules on their surface and should aid in the design of treatments for diseases in which modulation of the cytokine profile would be beneficial.

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