Lethal T cell immunodeficiency induced by chronic costimulation via CD27-CD70 interactions

Nat Immunol. 2003 Jan;4(1):49-54. doi: 10.1038/ni869. Epub 2002 Dec 9.


It has been proposed that HIV-1, in addition to directly infecting and killing CD4+ T cells, causes T cell dysfunction and T cell loss by chronic immune activation. We analyzed the effects of chronic immune activation in mice that constitutively expressed CD70, the ligand for the tumor necrosis factor receptor family member CD27, on B cells. CD70 transgenic (CD70 Tg) mice showed a progressive conversion of naive T cells into effector-memory cells, which culminated in the depletion of naive T cells from lymph nodes and spleen. T cell changes depended on continuous CD27-CD70 interactions and T cell antigen receptor stimulation. Despite this hyperactive immune system, CD70 Tg mice died aged 6-8 months from Pneumocystis carinii infection, a hallmark of T cell immunodeficiency. Thus, persistent delivery of costimulatory signals via CD27-CD70 interactions, as may occur during chronic active viral infections, can exhaust the T cell pool and is sufficient to induce lethal immunodeficiency.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD*
  • CD27 Ligand
  • Cytopathogenic Effect, Viral
  • HIV Infections / etiology
  • HIV Infections / immunology
  • HIV-1 / immunology
  • HIV-1 / pathogenicity
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / etiology*
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / genetics
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / immunology
  • Immunologic Memory
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Pneumonia, Pneumocystis / etiology
  • Pneumonia, Pneumocystis / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Superfamily, Member 7 / metabolism*


  • Antigens, CD
  • CD27 Ligand
  • CD70 protein, human
  • Cd70 protein, mouse
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Superfamily, Member 7