Author(s): Felix NJ, Suri A, SalterCid L, Nadler SG, Gujrathi S,
Abstract Share this page
Abstract T and B lymphocytes are central regulators and effectors of immune responses and are believed to have a key role in many autoimmune diseases. Targeting the activation or effector function of lymphocytes is a potentially effective approach to treat autoimmunity. Typically, T-cell activation occurs after engagement of the T-cell receptor with its cognate peptide-major histocompatibility complex (signal 1) and subsequent engagement of co-stimulatory molecules (signal 2). This "second signal" contributes to T-cell activation by promoting proliferation, survival, and effector function. In general, activation in the absence of co-stimulation leads to a reduced immune response, anergy, or even tolerance. B-cell activation similarly requires co-stimulation for the development of complete effector function. The most potent co-stimulatory molecules identified to date are CD28 for T-cells and CD40 for B-cells. Both molecules are recognized for their potential as immune modulators; however, thus far neither molecule has been successfully targeted directly for the treatment of autoimmune disease. The only current therapy to target either of these pathways is cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4-Ig), which indirectly blocks CD28 signaling and has proven efficacy in rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis patients. In addition to CD28 and CD40, an array of other co-stimulatory as well as inhibitory pathways has recently been identified and scientists are just beginning to understand how these different signaling pathways interact to regulate lymphocyte activation. In the more than two decades since the discovery of the first co-stimulatory molecule, the full clinical potential of these pathways is yet to be realized. In this review, we will primarily focus on CD28 and CD40 which are the most clinically validated co-stimulatory pathways, and briefly summarize and discuss some of the other T-cell co-stimulatory molecules.
This article was published in Autoimmunity
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology