Activation of alloreactive CD8+ T cells operates via CD4-dependent and CD4-independent mechanisms and is CD154 blockade sensitive.
CD154, one of the most extensively studied T cell costimulation molecules, represents a promising therapeutic target in organ transplantation. However, the immunological mechanisms of CD154 blockade that result in allograft protection, particularly in the context of alloreactive CD4/CD8 T cell activation, remain to be elucidated. We now report on the profound inhibition of alloreactive CD8(+) T cells by CD154 blockade via both CD4-dependent and CD4-independent activation pathways. Using CD154 KO recipients that are defective in alloreactive CD8(+) T cell activation and unable to reject cardiac allografts, we were able to restore CD8 activation and graft rejection by adoptively transferring CD4(+) or CD8(+) T cells from wild-type syngeneic donor mice. CD4-independent activation of alloreactive CD8(+) T cells was confirmed following treatment of wild-type recipients with CD4-depleting mAb, and by using CD4 KO mice. Comparable levels of alloreactive CD8(+) T cell activation was induced by allogenic skin engraftment in both animal groups. CD154 blockade inhibited CD4-independent alloreactive CD8(+) T cell activation. Furthermore, we analyzed whether disruption of CD154 signaling affects cardiac allograft survival in skin-sensitized CD4 KO and CD8 KO recipients. A better survival rate was observed consistently in CD4 KO, as compared with CD8 KO recipients. Our results document CD4-dependent and CD4-independent activation pathways for alloreactive CD8(+) T cells that are both sensitive to CD154 blockade. Indeed, CD154 blockade was effective in preventing CD8(+) T cell-mediated cardiac allograft rejection.
Zhai, Y; Meng, L; Busuttil, RW; Sayegh, MH; Kupiec-Weglinski, JW
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