Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA-4) uniformly suppresses antigen-specific T cells during chronic infection with bacterial, parasitic or viral pathogens. However, the importance of CTLA-4 in controlling the T-cell response during acute infection or after priming with live attenuated vaccine vectors has not been well characterized. Since strategies aimed at blocking CTLA-4 are being actively developed to therapeutically augment T-cell-mediated immunity, the effects of CTLA-4 blockade on T-cell activation during these conditions need to be more clearly defined. We have examined the role of CTLA-4 in a prime-challenge model of acute bacterial infection using both attenuated and virulent strains of the intracellular bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. Although Foxp3+ CD4+ T cells are the predominant CTLA-4-expressing cell type in naïve mice, antigen-specific Foxp3 - CD4+ cells upregulate CTLA-4 expression after primary L. monocytogenes infection. Blockade of CTLA-4 results in increased numbers of L. monocytogenes-specific CD4 and CD8 T cells after primary infection with attenuated L. monocytogenes, and confers more rapid bacterial clearance after secondary challenge with virulent L. monocytogenes. Accordingly, CTLA-4 plays an important suppressive role in T-cell priming and protective immunity in a prime-challenge model of acute bacterial infection.
- T cell