B7RP-1 Is Not Required for the Generation of Th2 Responses in a Model of Allergic Airway Inflammation but Is Essential for the Induction of Inhalation Tolerance
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The recently described ICOS-B7RP-1 costimulatory pathway has been implicated in the generation of effector Th2 responses and, hence, has become an attractive therapeutic target for allergic diseases. In the present study, we used B7RP-1-deficient mice to investigate the role of B7RP-1 in the generation and maintenance of Th2 responses in a model of mucosal allergic airway inflammation. We found that exposure of B7RP-1 knockout mice to aerosolized OVA in the context of GM-CSF leads to airway eosinophilic inflammation. This response was long lasting because rechallenge of mice with the same Ag recapitulated airway eosinophilia. Moreover, significant expression of T1/ST2 on T cells and production of Th2-affiliated cytokines (IL-5, IL-4, and IL-13) and Igs (IgE and IgG1) conclusively demonstrate the generation of a Th2 response in the absence of B7RP-1. In addition, expression of two major Th2-associated costimulatory molecules-CD28 and ICOS-indicates T cell activation in the absence of B7RP-1 signaling. Finally, B7RP-1 knockout mice are resistant to the induction of inhalation tolerance as indicated by the sustained eosinophilia in the lung and IL-5 production. In summary, our results demonstrate that in a model of mucosal allergic sensitization, the ICOS-B7RP-1 pathway is redundant for the generation of Th2 responses but essential for the induction of inhalation tolerance.
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