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      IL-2 and IL-10 Production by Human CD4+T Cells Is Differentially Regulated by p38: Mode of Stimulation-Dependent Regulation of IL-2

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          Antigenic stimulation of T cells initiates a complex series of intracellular signaling pathways that target and activate different cytokine genes. The participation of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) in these processes has not been studied thoroughly and in some instances conflicting results have been reported. Here we have examined the role of p38 MAPK on IL-2 and IL-10 production following activation of human CD4+ T cells or of the leukemic cell line Hut-78, with either plate-bound anti-CD3 in the presence or absence of soluble anti-CD28 (plCD3, plCD3/sCD28), or with cross-linked anti-CD3 and anti-CD28 (crsCD3+CD28), or with PMA plus ionomycin. Pharmacological inhibition of the p38 pathway with either SB203580, SB202190, or SKF86002 strongly downregulated IL-10 production by T cells stimulated with any of the above treatments. In contrast the effect of p38 inhibition on IL-2 was stimulus dependent. Thus, p38 inhibition strongly upregulated IL-2 production (up to 10-fold) in the plCD3- and plCD3/sCD28-stimulated cultures while it had minimal or no effect in the other two stimulation protocols. Intracellular and mRNA levels of IL-2 and IL-10 were also upregulated and downregulated, respectively, by p38 inhibitors in the plCD3/sCD28-stimulated CD4+ T cells. Also, the induction of IL-2 and the parallel suppression of IL-10 by p38 inhibitors were independent of the balance between these two cytokines, as demonstrated by the addition of exogenous IL-10 or blocking anti-IL-10 antibody in CD4+ and Hut-78 cell cultures. These results show that p38 acts as a molecular switch that changes the balance between IL-2 and IL-10. This is especially important considering the opposing role of these cytokines in peripheral immune tolerance.

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          Most cited references 17

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          MAP kinases in the immune response.

          MAP kinases are among the most ancient signal transduction pathways and are widely used throughout evolution in many physiological processes. In mammalian species, MAP kinases are involved in all aspects of immune responses, from the initiation phase of innate immunity, to activation of adaptive immunity, and to cell death when immune function is complete. In this review, we summarize recent progress in understanding the function and regulation of MAP kinase pathways in these phases of immune responses.
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            Regulatory T cells in autoimmmunity*.

             E Shevach (1999)
            Clonal deletion of autoreactive T cells in the thymus is not the sole mechanism for the induction of tolerance to self-antigens since partial depletion of peripheral CD4(+) T cells from neonatal and adult animals results in the development of organ-specific autoimmunity. Reconstitution of these immunodeficient animals with populations of regulatory CD4(+)T cells prevents the development of autoimmunity. The lineage of regulatory CD4(+) T cells is generated in the thymus and can be distinguished from effector cells by the expression of unique membrane antigens. The target antigens for these suppressor populations and their mechanisms of action remain poorly defined. Depletion of regulatory T cells may be useful in the induction of immunity to weak antigens, such as tumor-specific antigens. Conversely, enhancement of regulatory T cell function may be a useful adjunct to the therapy of autoimmune diseases and for prevention of allograft rejection.
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              Interleukin-10 induces a long-term antigen-specific anergic state in human CD4+ T cells

              Human CD4+ T cells, activated by allogeneic monocytes in a primary mixed lymphocyte reaction in the presence of exogenous interleukin (IL) 10, specifically failed to proliferate after restimulation with the same alloantigens. A comparable state of T cell unresponsiveness could be induced by activation of CD4+ T cells by cross-linked anti-CD3 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) in the presence of exogenous IL-10. The anergic T cells failed to produce IL-2, IL-5, IL-10, interferon gamma, tumor necrosis factor alpha, and granulocyte/macrophage colony- stimulating factor. The IL-10-induced anergic state was long-lasting. T cell anergy could not be reversed after restimulation of the cells with anti-CD3 and anti-CD28 mAbs, although CD3 and CD28 expression was normal. In addition, restimulation of anergized T cells with anti-CD3 mAbs induced normal Ca2+ fluxes and resulted in increased CD3, CD28, and class II major histocompatibility complex expression, indicating that calcineurin-mediated signaling occurs in these anergic cells. However, the expression of the IL-2 receptor alpha chain was not upregulated, which may account for the failure of exogenous IL-2 to reverse the anergic state. Interestingly, anergic T cells and their nonanergic counterparts showed comparable levels of proliferation and cytokine production after activation with phorbol myristate acetate and Ca2+ ionophore, indicating that a direct activation of a protein kinase C-dependent pathway can overcome the tolerizing effect of IL-10. Taken together, these data demonstrate that IL-10 induces T cell anergy and therefore may play an important role in the induction and maintenance of antigen-specific T cell tolerance.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                July 2004
                09 July 2004
                : 11
                : 4
                : 199-208
                aDepartment of Pathophysiology, School of Medicine, University of Athens and bBlood Transfusion and Haemophilia Center, Laikon General Hospital, Athens, cSchool of Medicine, University of Crete and IMBB-FORTH, Heraklion, and dDepartment of Microbiology, School of Medicine, University of Patras, Patras, Greece
                78437 Neuroimmunomodulation 2004;11:199–208
                © 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 8, References: 43, Pages: 10
                Original Paper


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