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      Observational support for an immunoregulatory role of CD3+CD4+CD25+IFN-gamma+ blood lymphocytes in kidney transplant recipients with good long-term graft outcome.

      Transplant International

      Adult, Aged, Antigens, CD3, analysis, Antigens, CD4, Dendritic Cells, classification, immunology, Female, Graft Rejection, Graft Survival, Humans, Interferon-gamma, blood, Interleukin-2 Receptor alpha Subunit, Kidney Transplantation, physiology, Lymphocyte Subsets, Male, Middle Aged, Neopterin

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          There is evidence that interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma)-dependent interactions of dendritic cell (DC), T regulatory (Treg), and T suppressor (Ts) subpopulations contribute to allograft acceptance. We measured DC subsets, CD3+CD4+CD25+ (Treg phenotype) and CD3+CD8+CD28(-) (Ts phenotype) peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) expressing Foxp3, Th1 or Th2 cytokines, peripheral T- and B-cell counts, and plasma cytokines in 33 kidney transplant recipients with a serum creatinine of < or =1.8 mg/dl and 32 recipients with a serum creatinine of > or =2.0 mg/dl more than 100 days post-transplant. Cell subsets were measured in whole blood using four-color flow cytometry. Patients with increased creatinine had less frequently detectable CD3+CD4+CD25+IFN-gamma+ PBL than patients with good graft function (P = 0.017). In patients with good graft function, CD3+CD4+CD25+IFN-gamma+ PBL were associated with high Foxp3+, IL-2+, IL-12+, IL-4+, and IL-10+ CD3+CD4+CD25+ T PBL (P < 0.001), low CD3+CD8+CD28(-)Foxp3+ (P = 0.002), CD3+CD4+DR+ (P = 0.002), CD3+CD8+DR+ T (P = 0.005) and CD19+ B PBL (P = 0.005), and low lineage(-)HLA-DR+CD11c+CD123(-) DC1 (P = 0.006). Patients with impaired graft function did not show these associations. Additional flow cytometric analysis confirmed strong co-expression of IFN-gamma and Foxp3 by CD4+CD25+ PBL particularly in patients with good graft function. Our data support an immunoregulatory role of CD3+CD4+CD25+Foxp3+IFN-gamma+ cells in a subgroup of transplant recipients with good graft acceptance.

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