Costimulatory signals received by diabetogenic T cells during priming by or upon secondary encounter with autoantigen are decisive in determining the outcome of autoimmune attack. The OX40-OX40 ligand (OX40L) costimulatory pathway is known to influence T cell responses, prompting us to examine its role in autoimmune diabetes. A null allele at OX40L completely prevented diabetes development in nonobese diabetic mice and strongly reduced its incidence in a TCR transgenic model (BDC2.5). However, somewhat paradoxically, the initial activation of T cells responsive to islet β cell Ag was slightly faster and more efficient in the absence of OX40L, with an increased degree of cell proliferation and survival in the deficient hosts. Activated T cell migration into and retention within the islets was also slightly accelerated. When challenged in vitro, splenocytes from BDC2.5.OX40L o/o mice showed no altered reactivity to exogenously added peptide, no bias to the Th1 or Th2 phenotype, and no alteration in T cell survival. Thus, the OX40/OX40L axis has the paradoxical effect of dampening the early activation and migration of autoimmune T cells, but sustains the long-term progression to autoimmune destruction.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy