Cooperation between CD4 and CD8 T cells for anti-tumor activity is enhanced by OX40 signals.
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The relative contribution of OX40 (CD134) to priming of CD8 T cells in complex systems where CD4 and CD8 cells respond and cooperate together is not clear. We previously found that OX40 expressed on tumor-reactive CD8 T cells controls their initial persistence when adoptively transferred in vivo and is required for delayed tumor growth. We now show that exogenous stimulation of OX40 with agonist antibody augments its ability to suppress the growth of new as well as established tumors, correlating with marked expansion of adoptively transferred CD8 T cells. Concomitantly, anti-OX40 strongly enhanced the number of tumor antigen-reactive CD4 T cells. Moreover, the augmented accumulation of CD8 T cells was prevented in animals lacking MHC class II or depleted of CD4 cells and did not occur in OX40-deficient animals receiving wild-type CD8 cells, demonstrating that non-CD8 cells are the major target of OX40 signals. These results suggest that while OX40 signaling to a CD8 T cell can control its expansion, OX40 expressed on non-CD8 cells strongly influences CD8 priming and in vivo activity. OX40 therefore represents an important signal for allowing effective cooperation between CD4 and CD8 cells and for promoting cell interplay and tumor rejection where CD8 activity is limiting.