Background: It has been reported for the peripheral T cell repertoire that CD4 molecules may enhance adhesion between T cells and antigen presenting cells and, through their physical association with T cell antigen receptors, contribute to signal transduction.
Objective: The aims of this study were to determine if the modulation of CD4 molecules had differential effects on T cell recognition, antigen induced cytokine (IL-4 and IFNγ), release and the induction of specific anergy for human TH-0, TH-1 and TH-2 cells.
Methods: A panel of anti-CD4 antibodies was examined for its ability to modulate T cell proliferation, cytokine production and tolerance induction in house dust mite (TH-0 and TH-2) and influenza haemagglutinin (TH-1) specific human CD4+ T cell clones all restricted by DRB1*1101 and isolated from dust mite allergic individuals.
Results: We observed that anti-CD4 antibodies may inhibit or enhance antigen mediated T cell proliferation, which may reflect the differential requirements of T cells for selective functions of CD4. Furthermore, IFNγ and IL-4 production was differentially modulated depending on the specificity of the anti-CD4 antibody and the clone of T cells. However, pretreatment of T cells with anti-CD4 antibody alone neither induced nor enhanced the susceptibility of T cells to peptide mediated anergy.
Conclusion: Antigen recognition by different subsets of human CD4+ T cells has differential requirements on CD4, whereas the induction of specific anergy appeared to be independent of the functions of CD4 molecules. Antigen induced IFNγ production was more susceptible than IL-4 to the inhibitory effects of anti-CD4 antibodies. Furthermore, it appeared that certain anti-CD4 antibodies can dissociate antigen induced IFNγ and IL-4 production, and may downregulate IFNγ synthesis without inhibiting antigen dependent proliferation.