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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1996 Oct 31;795:116-26.

Interleukin-12 production by dendritic cells. The role of CD40-CD40L interactions in Th1 T-cell responses.

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Mucosal Immunity Section, National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Recent studies have demonstrated that the treatment of mice with anti-gp39 antibodies impairs T-cell functions in the murine collagen type II-induced arthritis model, in acute semi-allogenic graft-versus-host disease, and in the allo-specific CTL-reaction, that is, reactions that are believed to be mediated by Th1-type T cells. On the other hand, the administration of anti-gp39 antibody did not influence Th2 T-cells responses, suggesting that CD40-CD40L interactions are more crucial for Th1 than Th2 T-cell development. Recent studies also demonstrate that dendritic cells (DC) are capable of driving a Th1 T-cell response that is mediated by IL-12. In addition, stimulation of CD40 on human monocytes results in IL-12 production, suggesting that activated T cells expressing CD40L may directly induce the production of IL-12 by antigen-presenting cells, thus allowing for the generation of a Th1 T-cell response in the absence of intracellular pathogens. We investigated whether the CD40-CD40L interaction was important in the production of IL-12 by DCs in an in vitro system that allowed precise control of cytokine concentrations. Initially we showed that FACS-purified mouse spleen DCs produce high amounts of IL-12 p40 in response to CD40 crosslinking by CD40L-expressing fibroblasts. We then demonstrate that DCs also produce IL-12 p40 in a more physiologic system using purified DCs pulsed with ovalbumin (OVA) and then cultured with LECAM-1hi T cells from ovalbumin T-cell receptor transgenic mice. Finally, we show that IL-10 has a potent capacity to shut down CD40-induced IL-12 p40 secretion; and, in addition, IL-4 partially inhibits CD40-induced IL-12 p40 secretion and enhances IL-10-mediated inhibition in an additive fashion. We also investigated the in vivo relevance of this interaction in an experimental model for a Th1-mediated disease, the hapten reagent (TNBS)-induced colitis. The administration of anti-gp39 (CD40L) antibodies during the induction phase of the Th1 response completely prevented IFN-gamma production by CD4 T cells from the intestinal lamina propria and also the clinical and histological evidence of disease. In further studies we showed that the prevention of disease activity was due to an inhibition of IL-12 secretion. Thus, the injection of recombinant IL12 p75 heterodimer into TNBS + anti-gp39-treated mice reversed the effect of anti-gp39 and resulted in severe disease activity. In conclusion, these findings suggest that DCs produce IL-12 in response to CD40 signaling, that a mechanism by which IL-4 may induce Th2 development is by acting with IL-10 to inhibit IL-12 production by DCs, and that the CD40L-CD40 interaction is crucial for the IL-12-dependent priming of Th1 T cells in vivo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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