CD80 (B7) and CD86 (B70) provide similar costimulatory signals for T cell proliferation, cytokine production, and generation of CTL.
Signals initiated through both the TCR complex and CD28 are required for optimal activation of T lymphocytes. Recently, it has been demonstrated that CD28 interacts with two different ligands, designated CD80 (B7/B7-1) and CD86 (B70/B7-2). We have produced stable transfectants that express CD80, CD86, or both ligands and have examined their ability to costimulate T cell proliferation, cytokine production, and the generation of CTL. When we used small, resting human peripheral blood T cells as responders, both CD80 and CD86 transfectants efficiently costimulated anti-CD3 mAb-induced proliferation and the secretion of IL-2 and IFN-gamma. Additionally, both CD80 and CD86 transfectants were able to generate functional CTL. The magnitude and kinetics of these responses were similar, which indicates that both ligands provide efficient costimulatory signals. Because many APCs coexpress both CD80 and CD86, we compared the ability of anti-CD80 and anti-CD86 mAbs to inhibit allogeneic MLR stimulated with B lymphoblastoid cell lines and showed that it is necessary to inhibit interactions with both ligands to optimally block CD28-dependent proliferation. Given the limited homology of CD80 and CD86, it was surprising that the binding of CD28-Ig fusion protein to CD80 and that to CD86 transfectants were essentially indistinguishable. Binding of CTLA-4-Ig fusion protein to both transfectants also was quite similar, but was of higher affinity than CD28-Ig binding. Results from these studies indicate that both CD80 and CD86 are potent and similar costimulators of T lymphocytes. Therefore, the role of CD80 and CD86 in an immune response may be determined primarily by their differential expression on APC.