The ligand for the B cell surface antigen CD40 was recently cloned from a murine thymoma cDNA library and shown to be expressed on activated T cells. In this study, we investigate the biological effects of murine recombinant CD40 ligand. The recombinant CD40 ligand expressed on the CV‐1/EBNA monkey fibroblast cell line directly activated resting B cell to express elevated levels of cell surface class II major histocompatibility complex and CD23 molecules. CD40 ligand also stimulated B cell proliferation, reaching maximal levels on day 2 of culture and declining thereafter. This effect was positively regulated by other cytokines, most notably interleukin (IL)‐4 and IL‐5. By itself, CD40 ligand had no effect upon immunoglobulin secretion by B cells. However, when B cells were treated with CD40 ligand plus cytokines, immunoglobulin secretion was stimulated in a cytokine‐dependent and isotype‐specific manner. IL‐4 was a potent co‐stimulator of IgE and IgG1 in the presence of CD40 ligand, and IL‐5 acted synergistically with IL‐4 in these responses as well as in IgM and IgG3 production. Taken together, the results indicate that CD40 ligand is a potent regulatory molecule for B cell growth and differentiation, and its activities are potentiated in a cytokine‐specific manner.
European Journal of Immunology – Wiley
Published: May 1, 1993
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