In vitro, when the B7 molecule on the surface of antigen-presenting cells binds to the T cell surface molecules CD28 and CTLA-4, a costimulatory signal for T cell activation is generated. CTLA4Ig is a soluble form of the extracellular domain of CTLA-4 and binds B7 with high avidity. CTLA4Ig treatment in vivo suppressed T cell-dependent antibody responses to sheep erythrocytes or keyhole limpet hemocyanin. Large doses of CTLA4Ig suppressed responses to a second immunization. Thus, costimulation by B7 is important for humoral immune responses in vivo, and interference with costimulation may be useful for treatment of antibody-mediated autoimmune disease.

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