We and others have previously shown that ICOS plays an important role in inducing acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in murine models of allogeneic bone marrow transplantation. ICOS potentiates TCR-mediated PI3K activation and intracellular calcium mobilization. However, ICOS signal transduction pathways involved inGVHD remain unknown. In this study, we examined the contribution of ICOS-PI3K signaling in the pathogenic potential of T cells using a knock-in mouse strain, ICOS-YF, which selectively lost the ability to activate PI3K. We found that when total T cells were used as alloreactive T cells, ICOS-YF T cells caused less severe GVHD compared with ICOS wild-type T cells, but they induced much more aggressive disease than ICOS knockout T cells. This intermediate level of pathogenic capacity of ICOS-YF T cells was correlated with similar levels of IFN-γ-producing CD8 T cells that developed in the recipients of ICOS-WT or ICOS-YF T cells. We further evaluated the role of ICOSPI3K signaling in CD4 versus CD8 T cell compartment using GVHD models that are exclusively driven by CD4 or CD8 T cells. Remarkably, ICOS-YF CD8 T cells caused disease similar to ICOS wild-type CD8 T cells, whereas ICOS-YF CD4 T cells behaved very similarly to their ICOS knockout counterparts. Consistent with their in vivo pathogenic potential, CD8 T cells responded to ICOS ligation in vitro by PI3K-independent calcium flux, T cell activation, and proliferation. Thus, in acute GVHD in mice, CD4 T cells heavily rely on ICOS-PI3K signaling pathways; in contrast, CD8 T cells can use PI3K-independent ICOS signaling pathways, possibly through calcium.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy