T cells of staphylococcal enterotoxin B‐tolerized autoimmune MRL‐lpr/lpr mice require co‐stimulation through the B7‐CD28/CTLA‐4 pathway for activation and can be reanergized in vivo by stimulation of the T cell receptor in the absence of this co‐stimulatory signal

Academic Article


  • The CD28/CTLA‐4 receptors on T cells interact with the B7 molecule on antigen‐presenting cells (APC) to produce a co‐stimulatory signal that determines the outcome of activation. The role of this co‐stimulatory signal in T cell activation and loss of tolerance in autoimmune MRL‐lpr/lpr mice has not been investigated previously. The present study examines the contribution of the CD28/CTLA‐4 co‐stimulatory pathway to the loss of T cell tolerance in Vβ8 transgenic MRL‐lpr/lpr and ‐+/+ mice in which neonatal tolerance has been induced by the superantigen staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB). An artificial APC transfected with the murine B7 gene, and a CTLA‐4‐Ig fusion protein were used to analyze the significance of the CD28/CTLA‐4 pathway in vitro. The CTLA‐4‐Ig fusion protein was also used to inhibit the pathway in vivo. Our results demonstrate that CD28 and CTLA‐4 mRNA was overexpressed in the lymph nodes of lpr/lpr mice (MRL, C57BL/6, C3H and AKR), but not in +/+ mice of the same background strain. Lymph node T cells and thymocytes from SEB neonatally tolerized MRL‐lpr/lpr mice that had undergone tolerance loss, proliferated when cultured with SEB and B7+ fibroblasts in vitro, but did not proliferate when the SEB was presented in the context of B7− fibroblasts. This in vitro tolerance loss could be prevented by blocking of B7 signaling by CTLA‐4‐Ig. This loss of tolerance did not occur in lymph node T cells from thymectomized MRL‐lpr/lpr mice. SEB challenge of tolerized MRL‐lpr/lpr mice in vivo led to weight loss, increased serum cytokine levels and depletion of Vβ8+ T cells. These effects were blocked by blocking of the co‐stimulatory pathway by treatment with the CTLA‐4‐Ig fusion protein prior to and during challenge with SEB. T cells from thymus and lymph nodes of these mice did not proliferate later in response to stimulation in vitro with SEB even in the presence of B7+ APC. Nonresponsiveness was not due to deletion of Vβ8+ CD28+ T cells, as the number of these cells was increased after treatment with SEB and the CTLA‐4‐Ig fusion protein. These results suggest that the response of autoreactive T cells in the thymus and lymph nodes depends on signaling by B7 in vivo and in vitro and that SEB‐reactive T cells can be reanergized in vivo by stimulation of the T cell receptor in the absence of signaling through the CD28/CTLA‐4 co‐stimulatory pathway. Copyright © 1994 WILEY‐VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Zhou T; Weaver C; Linsley PS; Mountz JD
  • Start Page

  • 1019
  • End Page

  • 1025
  • Volume

  • 24
  • Issue

  • 5