Background: Blockade of costimulatory molecules is a potent method of inducing long-term graft survival. We have previously addressed the issue of donor-reactive T-cell precursor frequency on relative costimulation dependence and found that the presence of a high precursor frequency of donor-reactive CD8+ T cells resulted in costimulation blockade-resistant graft rejection, whereas the presence of a low-frequency donor-reactive population did not. To address the mechanisms by which high-frequency T cells obviated the requirement for costimulation, we asked whether a low-frequency population responding concomitantly with a high-frequency response also demonstrated costimulation independence. Methods: A model system was established in which B6 mice containing a low frequency of anti-membrane bound chicken ovalbumin (mOVA) responders and a high frequency of anti-BALB/c responders received a skin graft from B6.mOVA×BALB/c F1 donors in the presence or absence of cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 Ig/anti-CD154 costimulatory blockade. Results: The results revealed that in the presence of costimulation blockade, high-frequency anti-BALB/c T cells augmented the effector activity of low-frequency anti-mOVA T cells, but it did not enhance the accumulation of anti-mOVA T cells capable of mediating graft rejection. Conclusions: These results demonstrate that both antigen-specific and antigen-independent factors contribute to the relative costimulation independence of high-frequency T-cell responses.
- Precursor frequency
- T lymphocyte