European Journal of Immunology vol:34 issue:3 pages:850-8
Protection against infections with Streptococcus pneumoniae is mediated by antibodies against the capsular polysaccharides (caps-PS). Here we show that in in vitro experiments CD4+ T lymphocytes stimulate and CD8+ T lymphocytes inhibit the human anti-caps-PS antibody response. Using antagonistic anti-CD40 and antagonistic anti-CD40 ligand (CD40L) monoclonal antibodies, we showed that the CD4+ T lymphocyte-mediated stimulation is dependent on the CD40-CD40L interaction. The role of CD40L was further illustrated by the observation that CD4+ T lymphocytes obtained from a patient with hyper-IgM syndrome were unable to enhance the immune response to caps-PS. Furthermore, CD4+ T lymphocytes from cord blood, which did not express CD40L in response to stimulation with caps-PS, failed to stimulate the antibody response of adult B lymphocytes to caps-PS. These in vitro findings were confirmed by in vivo experiments in which SCID/SCID mice were reconstituted with human mononuclear cells. Furthermore, we showed that caps-PS induce production of IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, and IFN-gamma, and that this enhanced production was inhibited by blocking the CD40-CD40L interaction. This is the first demonstration that the human immune response to caps-PS, which is markedly regulated by T lymphocytes, is dependent on the CD40-CD40L interaction.