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      Ex vivo-expanded natural CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells synergize with host T-cell depletion to promote long-term survival of allografts.

      American Journal of Transplantation
      Animals, Bone Marrow Cells, immunology, Dendritic Cells, Flow Cytometry, Forkhead Transcription Factors, genetics, Graft Rejection, prevention & control, Graft Survival, Heart Transplantation, Interleukin-2 Receptor alpha Subunit, Isoantigens, Lymphocyte Culture Test, Mixed, Lymphocyte Depletion, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Mice, Inbred C3H, Spleen, T-Lymphocytes, T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory, Transplantation, Homologous

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          Abstract

          Foxp3(+)CD4(+)CD25(+) natural regulatory T (nT(reg)) cells have been shown in immunodeficient mice to suppress allograft rejection after adoptive cotransfer. We hypothesized that immunotherapy using ex vivo-expanded nT(reg) could suppress allograft rejection in wild-type mice. Donor alloantigen (alloAg) specificity of naive splenic nT(reg) was enriched in vitro by culturing with anti-CD3/CD28-coated Dynabeads plus bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (BM-DC) in the presence of interleukin (IL)-2 or IL-2 plus transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta. On average, 96.2% fresh CD4(+)CD25(+) nT(reg) were intracellular Foxp3(+). By d+20 in culture, 6.4% nT(reg) were Foxp3(+) following expansion with IL-2 alone, and 14.4% or 19.7% nT(reg) were Foxp3(+) when expanded with IL-2 plus 0.5 or 2.5 ng/mL TGF-beta, respectively. In vitro, alloAg-enriched, TGF-beta/IL-2-conditioned nT(reg) exerted stronger donor alloAg-specific suppression than cells with IL-2 alone in mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR) assays. In vivo, alloAg-enriched, TGF-beta/IL-2-conditioned nT(reg) expressed high-level Foxp3 following infusion, effectively overcame acute rejection and induced long-term survival of donor but not third-party heart allografts in peritransplant host T-cell-depleted mice. Long-term surviving allografts were noted to possess Foxp3(+) graft-infiltrating cells of exogenous and endogenous origins. In conjunction with transient host T-cell depletion, therapeutic use of ex vivo-expanded nT(reg) may be a practical means of preventing acute allograft rejection.

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