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Adhesion of leukocytes to the vascular endothelium is an early event in inflammation. Since cell-cell signaling may be an important stimulus for endothelial activation, we focused in this study on the role of contact-mediated activation by T lymphocytes of endothelial cells (EC). T lymphocytes were cultured with anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody or in the presence of a combination of TNF-alpha, interleukin (IL)-6, and IL-2, prior to fixation and coculture with human umbilical vein EC. Fixed, activated (anti-CD3- or cytokine-stimulated), but not unstimulated T cells, induced release of monocyte chemotactic protein-1, IL-8, and IL-6 by EC in a contact-dependent manner. Moreover, expression of tissue-factor antigen and activity was also significantly increased. Addition of anti-CD40 ligand antibody abolished T cell-induced activation of EC. Our data suggest that contact-mediated activation of EC by T cells, involving ligand:counter ligand interactions such as CD40:CD40 ligand, may represent a novel pathogenic mechanism of progression in inflammatory diseases such as atherosclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis.


Journal article


J Leukoc Biol

Publication Date





659 - 668


CD40 Ligand, Cell Communication, Cells, Cultured, Chemokines, Cytokines, Endothelium, Vascular, Humans, Lymphocyte Activation, Receptor-CD3 Complex, Antigen, T-Cell, T-Lymphocytes, Thromboplastin