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      Regulatory T Cells and Human Myeloid Dendritic Cells Promote Tolerance via Programmed Death Ligand-1

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          Abstract

          Human regulatory T cells inhibit graft-versus-host disease that can occur after tissue transplantation, in part through expression of programmed death ligand 1 and modulation of antigen-presenting cells.

          Abstract

          Immunotherapy using regulatory T cells (Treg) has been proposed, yet cellular and molecular mechanisms of human Tregs remain incompletely characterized. Here, we demonstrate that human Tregs promote the generation of myeloid dendritic cells (DC) with reduced capacity to stimulate effector T cell responses. In a model of xenogeneic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), allogeneic human DC conditioned with Tregs suppressed human T cell activation and completely abrogated posttransplant lethality. Tregs induced programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) expression on Treg-conditioned DC; subsequently, Treg-conditioned DC induced PD-L1 expression in vivo on effector T cells. PD-L1 blockade reversed Treg-conditioned DC function in vitro and in vivo, thereby demonstrating that human Tregs can promote immune suppression via DC modulation through PD-L1 up-regulation. This identification of a human Treg downstream cellular effector (DC) and molecular mechanism (PD-L1) will facilitate the rational design of clinical trials to modulate alloreactivity.

          Author Summary

          Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is the most serious complication of bone marrow transplants between individuals (so-called allogenic transplants). The class of suppressor immune cells called regulatory T cells (Tregs) inhibit GVHD by dampening the effects of donor immune cells in the grafted tissue. The cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in this process have not been fully characterized, particularly for human cells. In this study, we report that human Tregs, which we generated from precursor cells ex vivo, express high levels of a cell surface protein called PD-L1 (programmed death ligand-1) that is known to mediate immune suppression. Coculture of these Tregs with allogeneic antigen-presenting cells (APCs), which are known to initiate GVHD, increased, in turn, the amount of PD-L1 on the APCs. The Treg-conditioned APCs were then less able than unconditioned APCs to provoke GVHD in a mouse model of the condition, preventing the death of the animals after transplantation. We found that an antibody against PD-L1 blocked the immunosuppressive effects of Tregs or Treg-conditioned APCs, indicating that this protein is an important part of the molecular mechanism. These findings are potentially important for attempts to modulate immune responses in disease by transplanting T cells into patients.

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          Most cited references41

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          Foxp3+ CD25+ CD4+ natural regulatory T cells in dominant self-tolerance and autoimmune disease.

          Naturally arising CD25+ CD4+ regulatory T (Treg) cells, most of which are produced by the normal thymus as a functionally mature T-cell subpopulation, play key roles in the maintenance of immunologic self-tolerance and negative control of a variety of physiological and pathological immune responses. Natural Tregs specifically express Foxp3, a transcription factor that plays a critical role in their development and function. Complete depletion of Foxp3-expressing natural Tregs, whether they are CD25+ or CD25-, activates even weak or rare self-reactive T-cell clones, inducing severe and widespread autoimmune/inflammatory diseases. Natural Tregs are highly dependent on exogenously provided interleukin (IL)-2 for their survival in the periphery. In addition to Foxp3 and IL-2/IL-2 receptor, deficiency or functional alteration of other molecules, expressed by T cells or non-T cells, may affect the development/function of Tregs or self-reactive T cells, or both, and consequently tip the peripheral balance between the two populations toward autoimmunity. Elucidation of the molecular and cellular basis of this Treg-mediated active maintenance of self-tolerance will facilitate both our understanding of the pathogenetic mechanism of autoimmune disease and the development of novel methods of autoimmune disease prevention and treatment via enhancing and re-establishing Treg-mediated dominant control over self-reactive T cells.
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            Stimulation of CD25(+)CD4(+) regulatory T cells through GITR breaks immunological self-tolerance.

            CD25(+)CD4(+) regulatory T cells in normal animals are engaged in the maintenance of immunological self-tolerance. We show here that glucocorticoid-induced tumor necrosis factor receptor family-related gene (GITR, also known as TNFRSF18)--a member of the tumor necrosis factor-nerve growth factor (TNF-NGF) receptor gene superfamily--is predominantly expressed on CD25(+)CD4(+) T cells and on CD25(+)CD4(+)CD8(-) thymocytes in normal naïve mice. We found that stimulation of GITR abrogated CD25(+)CD4(+) T cell-mediated suppression. In addition, removal of GITR-expressing T cells or administration of a monoclonal antibody to GITR produced organ-specific autoimmune disease in otherwise normal mice. Thus, GITR plays a key role in dominant immunological self-tolerance maintained by CD25(+)CD4(+) regulatory T cells and could be a suitable molecular target for preventing or treating autoimmune disease.
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              Compromised Function of Regulatory T Cells in Rheumatoid Arthritis and Reversal by Anti-TNFα Therapy

              Regulatory T cells have been clearly implicated in the control of disease in murine models of autoimmunity. The paucity of data regarding the role of these lymphocytes in human autoimmune disease has prompted us to examine their function in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Regulatory (CD4+CD25+) T cells isolated from patients with active RA displayed an anergic phenotype upon stimulation with anti-CD3 and anti-CD28 antibodies, and suppressed the proliferation of effector T cells in vitro. However, they were unable to suppress proinflammatory cytokine secretion from activated T cells and monocytes, or to convey a suppressive phenotype to effector CD4+CD25− T cells. Treatment with antitumor necrosis factor α (TNFα; Infliximab) restored the capacity of regulatory T cells to inhibit cytokine production and to convey a suppressive phenotype to “conventional” T cells. Furthermore, anti-TNFα treatment led to a significant rise in the number of peripheral blood regulatory T cells in RA patients responding to this treatment, which correlated with a reduction in C reactive protein. These data are the first to demonstrate that regulatory T cells are functionally compromised in RA, and indicate that modulation of regulatory T cells by anti-TNFα therapy may be a further mechanism by which this disease is ameliorated.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Academic Editor
                Journal
                PLoS Biol
                plos
                plosbiol
                PLoS Biology
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                1544-9173
                1545-7885
                February 2010
                February 2010
                2 February 2010
                : 8
                : 2
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Experimental Transplantation and Immunology Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America
                [2 ]University of Pennsylvania, Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America
                [3 ]BD BioSciences, San Jose, California, United States of America
                National Jewish Medical and Research Center/Howard Hughes Medical Institute, United States of America
                Author notes

                The author(s) have made the following declarations about their contributions: Conceived and designed the experiments: SA JLR BLL CHJ DHF. Performed the experiments: SA CMC JM JLU WGT VK. Analyzed the data: SA CMC JM JLU WGT VK JLR BLL CHJ. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: BLL CHJ TF NLW. Wrote the paper: SA DHF.

                Article
                09-PLBI-RA-2722R3
                10.1371/journal.pbio.1000302
                2814822
                20126379
                78f17b98-4956-4bfc-ba41-e124079e56e0
                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Public Domain declaration which stipulates that, once placed in the public domain, this work may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose.
                Page count
                Pages: 13
                Categories
                Research Article
                Hematology/Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplantation
                Immunology/Immune Response
                Immunology/Immunomodulation

                Life sciences
                Life sciences

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