Inflammation of the normally tolerant liver microenvironment precedes the development of chronic liver disease. Study of the pathogenesis of autoimmune liver diseases, such as autoimmune hepatitis (AIH), has been hampered by a lack of autochthonous chronic animal models. Through our studies of T cell costimulation, we generated transgenic mice expressing a ligand specific for the CD28 receptor, which normally shares ligands with the related inhibitory receptor CTLA-4. The mice spontaneously develop chronic inflammatory liver disease with several pathologies found in AIH, including elevated serum aminotransferases in the context of normal alkaline phosphatase and bilirubin levels, lymphocytic inflammation, focal necrosis, oval cell hyperplasia, and fibrosis. The prevalence of IFN-γ-producing CD8(+) T cells in the livers of transgenic mice suggests a role for autoimmune cytotoxicity in the chronic disease state. The CD28 ligand-specific transgenic mice will facilitate evaluation of CD8(+) T cell function in liver disease pathologies found in AIH.
- Copyright © 2013 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.