Interaction of CD28/CTLA-4 on T cells with B7 on antigen-presenting cells constitutes an important costimulatory signal for T cells and is responsible for cyclosporin A-resistant interleukin 2 (IL-2) gene expression and potentially also for prevention of anergy induction after T cell receptor triggering. In this paper, we demonstrate that addition of a monoclonal antibody to B7, which blocks B7-CD28/CTLA-4 interaction, and of cyclosporin A together, but not separately, to a primary mixed lymphocyte reaction of freshly isolated human T cells towards a human B cell line, induces nonresponsiveness of alloantigen-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte precursors, whereas reactivity to a third party stimulator is intact. Nonresponsiveness could be reversed by culture in IL-2, indicating that anergy, and not clonal deletion, is responsible for this phenomenon. Our finding opens important perspectives for the development of new therapeutic strategies in transplantation.

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