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Critical Role Of CD28/B7 Costimulation In The Development Of Human Th2 Cytokine-producing Cells

LM Webb, M Feldmann

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CD28 is a major costimulatory signal receptor for T cells. We have used human naive CD4+ cells from cord blood to analyze the effect of the CD28/B7 costimulatory pathway on development of T helper (Th) subsets. We show that CD28 costimulation is critical for development of the Th2 cytokine-producing cells and that in the absence of CD28 costimulation, cells are not primed to produce Th2 cytokines and consequently “default” to the Th1 subset, independent of the presence of exogenous cytokines. After CD28 costimulation, cells differentiate into a subset that produces Th2 cytokines. However, further CD28 costimulation is not required to maintain Th2 cytokine production. We conclude that D28 costimulation is critical for the development of Th0 and Th2 subsets, but not for the maintenance of cytokine production.