CD40-CD40 ligand-independent activation of CD8+ T cells can trigger allograft rejection.
Jones ND., Van Maurik A., Hara M., Spriewald BM., Witzke O., Morris PJ., Wood KJ.
In experimental transplantation, blockade of CD40-CD40 ligand (CD40L) interactions has proved effective at permitting long-term graft survival and has recently been approved for clinical evaluation. We show that CD4+ T cell-mediated rejection is prevented by anti-CD40L mAb therapy but that CD8+ T cells remain fully functional. Furthermore, blocking CD40L interactions has no effect on CD8+ T cell activation, proliferation, differentiation, homing to the target allograft, or cytokine production. We conclude that CD40L is not an important costimulatory molecule for CD8+ T cell activation and that following transplantation donor APC can activate recipient CD8+ T cells directly without first being primed by CD4+ T cells.