CD40 is a molecule present on multiple cell types including B lymphocyte lineage cells. CD40 has been shown to play an important role in B cell differentiation and activation in vitro, although little is known concerning the effects of CD40 stimulation in vivo. We therefore examined the effects of CD40 stimulation in mice using a syngeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT) model in an effort to augment B cell recovery after high dose therapy with hematopoietic reconstitution. After the BMT, mice were treated with or without 2-6 microg of a soluble recombinant murine CD40 ligand (srmCD40L) given intraperitoneally twice a week. A significant increase in B cell progenitors (B220+/ surface IgM-) was observed in the bone marrow of mice receiving the srmCD40L. The treated recipients also demonstrated improved B-cell function with increases in total serum immunoglobulin and increased splenic mitogen responsiveness to LPS being noted. Additionally, srmCD40L treatment promoted secondary lymphoid organ repopulation, accelerating germinal center formation in the lymph nodes. Total B cell numbers in the periphery were not significantly affected even with continuous srmCD40L administration. Lymphocytes obtained from mice treated with the ligand also had increases in T cell mitogen and anti-CD3 mAb responsiveness and acquired the capability to produce IL-4. Surprisingly, treatment with srmCD40L also produced hematopoietic effects in mice, resulting in an increase of BM and splenic hematopoietic progenitor cells in the mice after BMT. Treatment with srmCD40L significantly increased granulocyte and platelet recovery in the peripheral blood. Incubation of BMC with srmCD40L in vitro also resulted in increased progenitor proliferation, demonstrating that the hematopoietic effects of the ligand may be direct. Thus, stimulation of CD40 by its ligand may be beneficial in accelerating both immune and hematopoietic recovery in the setting of bone marrow transplantation.
S Funakoshi, D D Taub, M R Anver, A Raziuddin, O Asai, V Reddy, H Rager, W C Fanslow, D L Longo, W J Murphy