In these studies, we examined the effects of OX40 ligand (OX40L) deficiency on the development of Th2 cells during the Th2 immune response to the intestinal nematode parasite Heligmosomoides polygyrus. Elevations in IL-4 production and total and Ag-specific serum IgE levels were partially inhibited during both the primary and memory immune responses to H. polygyrus in OX40L(-/-) mice. The host-protective memory response was compromised in OX40L(-/-) mice, as decreased worm expulsion and increased egg production were observed compared with H. polygyrus-inoculated OX40L(+/+) mice. To further examine the nature of the IL-4 defect during priming, adoptively transferred DO11.10 T cells were analyzed in the context of the H. polygyrus response. Although Ag-specific T cell IL-4 production was reduced in the OX40L(-/-) mice following immunization with OVA peptide plus H. polygyrus, Ag-specific T cell expansion, cell cycle progression, CXCR5 expression, and migration were comparable between OX40L(+/+) and OX40L(-/-) mice inoculated with OVA and H. polygyrus. These studies suggest an important role for OX40/OX40L interactions in specifically promoting IL-4 production, as well as associated IgE elevations, in Th2 responses to H. polygyrus. However, OX40L interactions were not required for serum IgG1 elevations, increases in germinal center formation, and Ag-specific Th2 cell expansion and migration to the B cell zone.
Interactions between CD8+ T cells and endothelial cells are important in both protective and pathologic immune responses. Endothelial cells regulate the recruitment of CD8+ T cells into tissues, and the activation of CD8+ T cells by antigen presentation and costimulatory signals. PD-L1 and PD-L2 are recently described B7-family molecules which bind to PD-1 on activated lymphocytes and down-regulate T cell activation. We found that PD-L1 is expressed on interferon-gamma stimulated cultured human and mouse endothelial cells, while PD-L2 was found on stimulated human but not mouse endothelial cells. Expression was further up-regulated by TNF-alpha. Antibody blockade of endothelial cell PD-L1 and PD-L2 enhanced endothelial cell costimulation of PHA-activated human CD8+ T cells. Antibody blockade of mouse endothelial cell PD-L1 enhanced both IFN-gamma secretion and cytolytic activity of CD8+ T cells in response to endothelial cell antigen presentation. These results show that IFN-gamma activated endothelial cells can inhibit T cell activation via expression of the immunoinhibitory PD-L1 and PD-L2 molecules. Endothelial expression of PD-ligands would allow activation and extravasation of T cells without excessive vessel damage. Our findings highlight a potentially important pathway by which endothelial cells down-regulate CD8+ T cell-mediated immune responses.
When antigen-presenting cells (APCs) encounter inflammatory stimuli, they up-regulate their expression of B7. A small amount of B7 is also constitutively expressed on resting APCs, but its function is unclear. Here we show that initiation of T cell responses requires the expression of B7 on immunizing APCs, but the responses are much greater in the absence of basal B7 expression. Transfer of antigen-specific CD4+CD25+ cells reverses the increased responsiveness, and tolerance to a self-protein is broken by immunization in the absence of basal B7, thereby inducing autoimmunity. Similar loss of self-tolerance is seen on depletion of CD25+ cells. Thus, constitutively expressed B7 costimulators function to suppress T cell activation and maintain self-tolerance, principally by sustaining a population of regulatory T cells.
OX40 (CD134) is expressed on activated T cells; its ligand, OX40 ligand (OX40L) is expressed on dendritic cells, B cells, and activated endothelial cells. To determine how OX40-OX40L interaction affects graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), we used antagonistic anti-OX40L monoclonal antibody (mAb) or OX40(-/-) donor or OX40L(-/-) recipient mice. Similar degrees of GVHD reduction were observed with each approach. Despite the fact that OX40 is up-regulated on both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells isolated during GVHD, the major effects of OX40 ligation were on CD4(+) and not CD8(+) T-cell-mediated alloresponses as assessed in both GVHD and engraftment model systems. GVHD inhibition by blockade of the OX40/OX40L pathway did not require CD28 signaling. Some studies have indicated OX40 is essential for inducing T-helper type 2 (Th2) responses. However, in vivo blockade of OX40-OX40L interactions reduced GVHD mortality induced by either signal transducer and activator of transcription-6(-/-) (Stat-6(-/-)) (Th2-defective) or Stat-4(-/-) (Th1-defective) major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-disparate splenocytes, indicating that the GVHD-ameliorating effects did not require Stat-4 or Stat-6 signaling. Although OX40L has been reported to be expressed on activated T cells, no effects on GVHD were observed when OX40L(-/-) versus OX40L(+/+) T cells were infused in different models. These data provide insights as to the mechanisms responsible for OX40/OX40L regulation of GVHD.
Adoptive transfer experiments using C57BL/6 mice lacking B7-1 and B7-2 as recipients of wt (wt) encephalitogenic T cells demonstrate a key role for B7 costimulation during the effector phase of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Following transfer of encephalitogenic T cells, B7-1/B7-2-deficient (-/-) recipients develop a transient and mild disease as compared to wt recipients. To understand the mechanism by which B7-1/B7-2 may influence the effector phase of EAE, we analyzed T cells, pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines within the CNS of wt and B7-1/B7-2-/- recipients at different times after adoptive transfer of activated myelin specific T cells. There was a marked decline in T cells and inflammatory mediators in the CNS of B7-1/B7-2-/- recipients by day 30 post transfer. B7-1/B7-2-/- mice developed more TUNEL+ apoptotic cells in the parenchyma and greater ratios of TUNEL+ cells/parenchymal foci than wt mice resulting in virtual disappearance of parenchymal foci. Therefore, without B7-1 and B7-2 costimulation in the target organ, there is increased T cell apoptosis and attenuation of inflammation. These results indicate that B7-1 and B7-2 provide critical costimulatory signals for sustaining survival of pathogenic T cells within the central nervous system parenchyma during the effector phase of EAE and suggest novel treatment approaches in the effector phase of autoimmune diseases.
Newer members of the B7-CD28 superfamily include the receptor PD-1 and its two ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2. Here, we characterize the expression of PD-1, PD-L1, and PD-L2 in tissues of naive miceand in target organs from two models of autoimmunity, the pancreas from non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice and brain from mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). In naive mice, proteiexpression of PD-1, PD-L1, and PD-L2 was detected in the thymus, while PD-1 and PD-L1 were detected in the spleen. PD-L1, but not PD-L2, was also detected at low levels on cardiac endothelium, pancreatic islets, and syncyciotrophoblasts in the placenta. In pre-diabetic NOD mice, PD-1 and PD-L1 were expressed on infiltrating cells in the pancreatic islets. Furthermore, PD-L1 was markedly up-regulated on islet cells. In brains from mice with EAE, PD-1, PD-L1, and PD-L2 were expressed on infiltrating inflammatory cells, and PD-L1 was up-regulated on endothelium within EAE brain. The distinct expression patterns of PD-L1 and PD-L2 led us to compare their transcriptional regulation in STAT4(-/-), STAT6(-/-), or NF-kappaB p50(-/-)p65(+/-) dendritic cells (DC).PD-L2, but not PD-L1, expression was dramatically reduced in p50(-/-)p65(+/-) DC. Thus, PD-L1 and PD-L2 exhibit distinct expression patterns and are differentially regulated on the transcriptional level.
Although costimulation plays an important role in activating naive T cells, its role in negative selection is controversial. By following thymocyte deletion induced by endogenous superantigens in mice lacking B7-1 and/or B7-2, we have identified a role for both B7-1 and B7-2 in negative selection. Studies using CD28-deficient and CD28/CTLA-4-double-deficient mice have revealed that either CD28 or another as yet undefined coreceptor can mediate these B7-dependent signals that promote negative selection. Finally, CTLA-4 delivers signals that inhibit selection, suggesting that CTLA-4 and CD28 have opposing functions in thymic development. Combined, the data demonstrate that B7-1/B7-2-dependent signals help shape the T cell repertoire.
Inducible costimulatory molecule (ICOS) plays a pivotal role in T cell activation and Th1/Th2 differentiation. ICOS blockade has disparate effects on immune responses depending on the timing of blockade. Its role in transplantation immunity, however, remains incompletely defined. We used a vascularized mouse cardiac allograft model to explore the role of ICOS signaling at different time points after transplantation, targeting immune initiation (early blockade) or the immune effector phase (delayed blockade). In major histocompatibility-mismatched recipients, ICOS blockade prolonged allograft survival using both protocols but did so more effectively in the delayed-treatment group. By contrast, in minor histocompatibility-mismatched recipients, early blockade accelerated rejection and delayed blockade prolonged graft survival. Alloreactive CD4+ T cell expansion and alloantibody production were suppressed in both treatment groups, whereas only delayed blockade resulted in suppression of effector CD8+ T cell generation. After delayed ICOS blockade, there was a diminished frequency of allospecific IL-10-producing cells and an increased frequency of both IFN-gamma- and IL-4-producing cells. The beneficial effects of ICOS blockade in regulating allograft rejection were seen in the absence of CD28 costimulation but required CD8+ cells, cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4, and an intact signal transducer and activator of transcription-6 pathway. These data define the complex functions of the ICOS-B7h pathway in regulating alloimmune responses in vivo.
Calcineurin links calcium signaling to transcriptional responses in the immune, nervous and cardiovascular systems. To determine the function of the calcipressins, a family of putative calcineurin inhibitors, we assessed the calcineurin-dependent process of T cell activation in mice engineered to lack the gene encoding calcipressin 1 (Csp1). Csp1 regulated calcineurin in vivo, and genes triggered in an immune response had unique transactivation thresholds for T cell receptor stimulation. In the absence of Csp1, the apparent transactivation thresholds for all these genes were shifted because of enhanced calcineurin activity. This unbridled calcineurin activity drove Fas ligand expression, which normally requires high T cell receptor stimulation and results in the premature death of T helper type 1 cells. Thus, calcipressins modulate the pattern of calcineurin-dependent transcription, and may influence calcineurin activity beyond calcium to integrate a broad array of signals into the cellular response.