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      Treg cell-based therapies: challenges and perspectives

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          Abstract

          Cellular therapies using regulatory T (Treg) cells are currently undergoing clinical trials for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, transplant rejection and graft-versus-host disease. In this Review, we discuss the biology of Treg cells and describe new efforts in Treg cell engineering to enhance specificity, stability, functional activity and delivery. Finally, we envision that the success of Treg cell therapy in autoimmunity and transplantation will encourage the clinical use of adoptive Treg cell therapy for non-immune diseases, such as neurological disorders and tissue repair.

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          Most cited references 141

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          Foxp3 instability leads to the generation of pathogenic memory T cells in vivo

          Regulatory T (Treg) cells play a central role in maintaining immune homeostasis. However, little is known about the stability of Treg cells in vivo. In this study, we demonstrate that a significant percentage of cells exhibited transient or unstable Foxp3 expression. These exFoxp3+ T cells express an activated-memory T cell phenotype, and produced inflammatory cytokines. Moreover, exFoxp3 cell numbers increased in inflamed tissues under autoimmune conditions. Adoptive transfer of autoreactive exFoxp3 cells led to the rapid-onset of diabetes. Finally, T cell receptor repertoire analyses suggested that exFoxp3 cells develop from both natural and adaptive Treg cells. Thus, the generation of potentially autoreactive effector T cells as a consequence of Foxp3 instability has important implications for understanding autoimmune disease pathogenesis.
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            Interleukin-2 and regulatory T cells in graft-versus-host disease.

            Dysfunction of regulatory T (Treg) cells has been detected in diverse inflammatory disorders, including chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Interleukin-2 is critical for Treg cell growth, survival, and activity. We hypothesized that low-dose interleukin-2 could preferentially enhance Treg cells in vivo and suppress clinical manifestations of chronic GVHD. In this observational cohort study, patients with chronic GVHD that was refractory to glucocorticoid therapy received daily low-dose subcutaneous interleukin-2 (0.3×10(6), 1×10(6), or 3×10(6) IU per square meter of body-surface area) for 8 weeks. The end points were safety and clinical and immunologic response. After a 4-week hiatus, patients with a response could receive interleukin-2 for an extended period. A total of 29 patients were enrolled. None had progression of chronic GVHD or relapse of a hematologic cancer. The maximum tolerated dose of interleukin-2 was 1×10(6) IU per square meter. The highest dose level induced unacceptable constitutional symptoms. Of the 23 patients who could be evaluated for response, 12 had major responses involving multiple sites. The numbers of CD4+ Treg cells were preferentially increased in all patients, with a peak median value, at 4 weeks, that was more than eight times the baseline value (P<0.001), without affecting CD4+ conventional T (Tcon) cells. The Treg:Tcon ratio increased to a median of more than five times the baseline value (P<0.001). The Treg cell count and Treg:Tcon ratio remained elevated at 8 weeks (P<0.001 for both comparisons with baseline values), then declined when the patients were not receiving interleukin-2. The increased numbers of Treg cells expressed the transcription factor forkhead box P3 (FOXP3) and could inhibit autologous Tcon cells. Immunologic and clinical responses were sustained in patients who received interleukin-2 for an extended period, permitting the glucocorticoid dose to be tapered by a mean of 60% (range, 25 to 100). Daily low-dose interleukin-2 was safely administered in patients with active chronic GVHD that was refractory to glucocorticoid therapy. Administration was associated with preferential, sustained Treg cell expansion in vivo and amelioration of the manifestations of chronic GVHD in a substantial proportion of patients. (Funded by a Dana-Farber Dunkin' Donuts Rising Star award and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00529035.).
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              Regulatory T cells: how do they suppress immune responses?

              Regulatory T cells (Tregs), either natural or induced, suppress a variety of physiological and pathological immune responses. One of the key issues for understanding Treg function is to determine how they suppress other lymphocytes at the molecular level in vivo and in vitro. Here we propose that there may be a key suppressive mechanism that is shared by every forkhead box p3 (Foxp3)(+) Treg in vivo and in vitro in mice and humans. When this central mechanism is abrogated, it causes a breach in self-tolerance and immune homeostasis. Other suppressive mechanisms may synergistically operate with this common mechanism depending on the environment and the type of an immune response. Further, Treg-mediated suppression is a multi-step process and impairment or augmentation of each step can alter the ultimate effectiveness of Treg-mediated suppression. These findings will help to design effective ways for controlling immune responses by targeting Treg suppressive functions.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Reviews Immunology
                Nat Rev Immunol
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1474-1733
                1474-1741
                December 6 2019
                Article
                10.1038/s41577-019-0232-6
                31811270
                © 2019

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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