CD40 and autoimmunity: the dark side of a great activator

Semin Immunol. 2009 Oct;21(5):293-300. doi: 10.1016/j.smim.2009.05.012.


CD40 is a tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily member expressed by immune and non-immune cells. CD40:CD154 interactions mediate T-dependent B cell responses and efficient T cell priming. Thus, CD40 is a likely candidate to play roles in autoimmune diseases in which activated T and B cells cause pathology. Diseases in which CD40 plays a pathogenic role include autoimmune thyroiditis, type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus. This review discusses the role of CD40:CD154 interaction in human and mouse autoimmunity, human polymorphisms associated with disease incidence, and disrupting CD40:CD154 interactions as an autoimmune therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmunity / immunology*
  • CD40 Antigens / immunology*
  • CD40 Ligand / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Mice


  • CD40 Antigens
  • CD40 Ligand