CD40-CD154 interactions are of central importance in the induction of humoral and cellular immune responses. In the present study, CD154-deficient (CD154-/-) mice were used to assess the role of CD40-CD154 interactions in regulating the immune response to a systemic Salmonella infection. Compared with C57BL/6 (CD154+/+) controls, CD154 -/- mice were hypersusceptible to infection by an attenuated strain of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. typhimurium), as evidenced by decreased survival rate and mean time to death, which correlated with increased bacterial burden and persistence in target organs. CD154-/- mice exhibited a defect both in the production of IL-12, IFN-γ, and NO during the acute phase of the disease and in the generation of Salmonella-specific Ab responses and Ig isotype switching. Furthermore, when CD154-/- animals were administered a sublethal dose of attenuated S. typhimurium and subsequently challenged with a virulent homologous strain, all mice succumbed to an overwhelming infection. Similar treatment of CD154+/+ mice consistently resulted in ≥90% protection. The lack of protective immunity in CD154-/- mice correlated with a decreased T cell recall response to Salmonella Ags. Significant protection against virulent challenge was conferred to presensitized CD154-/- mice by transfer of serum or T cells from immunized CD154+/+ mice. For best protection, however, a combination of immune serum and T cells was required. We conclude that intercellular communications via the CD40-CD154 pathway play a critical role in the induction of type 1 cytokine responses, memory T cell generation, Ab formation, and protection against primary as well as secondary Salmonella infections.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy