Effector and memory T cells may cross-react with allogeneic Ags to mediate graft rejection. Whereas the costimulation properties of Th1 cells are well studied, relatively little is known about the costimulation requirements of microbe-elicited Th17 cells. The costimulation blocker CTLA-4 Ig has been ineffective in the treatment of several Th17-driven autoimmune diseases and is associated with severe acute rejection following renal transplantation, leading us to investigate whether Th17 cells play a role in CD28/CTLA-4 blockade-resistant alloreactivity.We established an Ag-specific model in which Th1 and Th17 cells were elicited via Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Candida albicans immunization, respectively. C. albicans immunization elicited a higher frequency of Th17 cells and conferred resistance to costimulation blockade following transplantation. Compared with the M. tuberculosis group, C. albicans-elicited Th17 cells contained a higher frequency of IL-17+IFN-g+ producers and a lower frequency of IL-10+ and IL-10+IL-17+ cells. Importantly, Th17 cells differentially regulated the CD28/CTLA-4 pathway, expressing similarly high CD28 but significantly greater amounts of CTLA-4 compared with Th1 cells. Ex vivo blockade experiments demonstrated that Th17 cells are more sensitive to CTLA-4 coinhibition and therefore less susceptible to CTLA-4 Ig. These novel insights into the differential regulation of CTLA-4 coinhibition on CD4+ T cells have implications for the immunomodulation of pathologic T cell responses during transplantation and autoimmunity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy