ICOS is required for the generation of both central and effector CD4+ memory T-cell populations following acute bacterial infection

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Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Respiratory; Inflammation and Autoimmunity; Research Department; MedImmune LLC; Gaithersburg MD USA


Interactions between ICOS and ICOS ligand (ICOSL) are essential for the development of T follicular helper (Tfh) cells and thus the formation and maintenance of GC reactions. Given the conflicting reports on the requirement of other CD4+ T-cell populations for ICOS signals, we have employed a range of in vivo approaches to dissect requirements for ICOS signals in mice during an endogenous CD4+ T-cell response and contrasted this with CD28 signals. Genetic absence of ICOSL only modestly reduced the total number of antigen-specific CD4+ T cells at the peak of the primary response, but resulted in a severely diminished number of both T central memory and T effector memory cells. Treatment with blocking anti-ICOS mAb during the primary response recapitulated these effects and caused a more substantial reduction than blocking CD28 signals with CTLA4Ig. During the memory phase of the response further signals through ICOS or CD28 were not required for survival. However, upon secondary challenge only Tfh cell expansion remained heavily ICOS-dependent, while CD28 signals were required for optimal expansion of all subsets. These data demonstrate the importance of ICOS signals specifically for memory CD4+ T-cell formation, while highlighting the potential of therapeutically targeting this pathway.

Bibliographic note

© 2015 The Authors. European Journal of Immunology published by WILEY‐VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1706–1715
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number6
Early online date7 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2015


  • ICOS, CD28, CD4+ Memory, T-cell responses, Tfh