The CD40 ligand. At the center of the immune universe?

Immunol Res. 1997 Feb;16(1):59-70. doi: 10.1007/BF02786323.


For several years, the primary function of CD40 ligand (CD40L) has been believed to be in regulation of contact-dependent, CD40-CD40L-mediated signals between B- and T-cells, which are essential for the regulation of thymus-dependent (TD) humoral immune responses. Recently, a flurry of reports indicate that CD40 is expressed by variety of cell types other than B-cells that include dendritic cells, follicular dendritic cells, monocytes, macrophages, fibroblasts, and endothelial cells. These studies show that CD40-CD40L interactions are important in inflammatory process. For the past few years, through the availability of CD40L-knockout mice, new data have emerged to support the belief that CD40L has many more functions than its role in TD humoral immunity. CD40L-deficient mice have provided significant information towards our understanding of the in vivo role of CD40L. The current picture that emerges indicates that CD40-CD40L interactions mediate many cell-mediated immune responses and T-cell-mediated effector functions that are required for proper functioning of the host defense system. This article focuses on the in vivo role of the CD40L in regulation of cell-mediated effector functions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / immunology
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / physiology
  • Autoimmunity / immunology
  • Autoimmunity / physiology
  • CD40 Antigens / metabolism*
  • CD40 Ligand
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Infections / immunology
  • Infections / pathology
  • Ligands
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Macrophages / physiology
  • Membrane Glycoproteins*
  • Monocytes / immunology
  • Monocytes / physiology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / physiology


  • CD40 Antigens
  • Cytokines
  • Ligands
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • CD40 Ligand