Neonatal activation of CD28 signaling overcomes T cell anergy and prevents autoimmune diabetes by an IL-4-dependent mechanism

J Clin Invest. 1997 Nov 1;100(9):2243-53. doi: 10.1172/JCI119762.


Optimal T cell responsiveness requires signaling through the T cell receptor (TCR) and CD28 costimulatory receptors. Previously, we showed that T cells from autoimmune nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice display proliferative hyporesponsiveness to TCR stimulation, which may be causal to the development of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). Here, we demonstrate that anti-CD28 mAb stimulation restores complete NOD T cell proliferative responsiveness by augmentation of IL-4 production. Whereas neonatal treatment of NOD mice with anti-CD28 beginning at 2 wk of age inhibits destructive insulitis and protects against IDDM by enhancement of IL-4 production by islet-infiltrating T cells, administration of anti-CD28 beginning at 5-6 wk of age does not prevent IDDM. Simultaneous anti-IL-4 treatment abrogates the preventative effect of anti-CD28 treatment. Thus, neonatal CD28 costimulation during 2-4 wk of age is required to prevent IDDM, and is mediated by the generation of a Th2 cell-enriched nondestructive environment in the pancreatic islets of treated NOD mice. Our data support the hypothesis that a CD28 signal is requisite for activation of IL-4-producing cells and protection from IDDM.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • CD28 Antigens / metabolism*
  • Cell Survival
  • Clonal Anergy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / immunology*
  • Female
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase / immunology
  • Immunization, Passive
  • Interleukin-2 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-4 / physiology*
  • Islets of Langerhans / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Signal Transduction
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Th2 Cells / immunology


  • CD28 Antigens
  • Interleukin-2
  • Interleukin-4
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase