In humans and certain strains of laboratory mice, male tissue is recognized as nonself and destroyed by the female immune system via recognition of histocompatibility Y chromosome Ag (Hya). Male tissue destruction is thought to be accomplished by CTLs in a helper-dependent manner. We show that graft protection induced with the immunodominant Hya-encoded CD4 epitope (Dby) attached to female splenic leukocytes (Dby-SPs) with the chemical cross-linker ethylenecarbodiimide significantly, and often indefinitely, prolongs the survival of male skin graft transplants in an Ag-specific manner. In contrast, treatments with the Hya CD8 epitopes (Uty-/Smcy-SPs) failed to prolong graft survival. Dby-SP-tolerized CD4+ T cells fail to proliferate, secrete IFN-γ, or effectively prime a CD8 response in recipients of male grafts. Ag-coupled splenocyte treatment is associated with defective CD40-CD40L interactions as demonstrated by the observation that CD4 cells from treated animals exhibit a defect in CD40L upregulation following in vitro Ag challenge. Furthermore, treatment with an agonistic anti-CD40 Ab at the time of transplantation abrogates protection from graft rejection. Interestingly, anti-CD40 treatment completely restores the function of Dby-specific CD4 cells but not Uty- or Smcy-specific CD8 cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy