Critical Role for CD8+ T Cells in Allograft Acceptance Induced by DST and CD40/CD154 Costimulatory Blockade

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Abstract

Donor-specific transfusion (DST) and CD40/CD154 costimulation blockade is a powerful immunosuppressive strategy which prolongs survival of many allografts. The efficacy of DST and anti-CD154 mAb for prolongation of hepatocellular allograft survival was only realized in C57BL/6 mice that have both CD4- and CD8-dependent pathways available (median survival time, MST, 82 days). Hepatocyte rejection in CD8 KO mice which is CD4-dependent was not suppressed by DST and anti-CD154 mAb treatment (MST, 7 days); unexpectedly DST abrogated the beneficial effects of anti-CD154 mAb for suppression of hepatocyte rejection (MST, 42 days) and on donor-reactive alloantibody production. Hepatocyte rejection in CD4 KO mice which is CD8-dependent was suppressed by treatment with DST and anti-CD154 mAb therapy (MST, 35 days) but did not differ significantly from immunotherapy with anti-CD154 mAb alone (MST, 32 days). Induction of hepatocellular allograft acceptance by DST and anti-CD154 mAb immunotherapy was dependent on host CD8+ T cells, as demonstrated by CD8 depletion studies in C57BL/6 mice (MST, 14 days) and CD8 reconstitution of CD8 KO mice (MST, 56 days). These studies demonstrate that both CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell subsets contribute to induction of hepatocellular allograft acceptance by this immunotherapeutic strategy.

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