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Reciprocal developmental pathways for the generation of pathogenic effector TH17 and regulatory T cells.

Nature

Animals, Antigens, CD4, metabolism, Autoimmunity, immunology, Cell Differentiation, drug effects, Central Nervous System, Cytokines, Forkhead Transcription Factors, Interleukin-17, biosynthesis, Interleukin-6, Mice, Receptors, Interleukin-2, Th1 Cells, cytology, Th2 Cells, Transforming Growth Factor beta

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      Abstract

      On activation, T cells undergo distinct developmental pathways, attaining specialized properties and effector functions. T-helper (T(H)) cells are traditionally thought to differentiate into T(H)1 and T(H)2 cell subsets. T(H)1 cells are necessary to clear intracellular pathogens and T(H)2 cells are important for clearing extracellular organisms. Recently, a subset of interleukin (IL)-17-producing T (T(H)17) cells distinct from T(H)1 or T(H)2 cells has been described and shown to have a crucial role in the induction of autoimmune tissue injury. In contrast, CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T (T(reg)) cells inhibit autoimmunity and protect against tissue injury. Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) is a critical differentiation factor for the generation of T(reg) cells. Here we show, using mice with a reporter introduced into the endogenous Foxp3 locus, that IL-6, an acute phase protein induced during inflammation, completely inhibits the generation of Foxp3+ T(reg) cells induced by TGF-beta. We also demonstrate that IL-23 is not the differentiation factor for the generation of T(H)17 cells. Instead, IL-6 and TGF-beta together induce the differentiation of pathogenic T(H)17 cells from naive T cells. Our data demonstrate a dichotomy in the generation of pathogenic (T(H)17) T cells that induce autoimmunity and regulatory (Foxp3+) T cells that inhibit autoimmune tissue injury.

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      Most cited references 21

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      Control of regulatory T cell development by the transcription factor Foxp3.

      Regulatory T cells engage in the maintenance of immunological self-tolerance by actively suppressing self-reactive lymphocytes. Little is known, however, about the molecular mechanism of their development. Here we show that Foxp3, which encodes a transcription factor that is genetically defective in an autoimmune and inflammatory syndrome in humans and mice, is specifically expressed in naturally arising CD4+ regulatory T cells. Furthermore, retroviral gene transfer of Foxp3 converts naïve T cells toward a regulatory T cell phenotype similar to that of naturally occurring CD4+ regulatory T cells. Thus, Foxp3 is a key regulatory gene for the development of regulatory T cells.
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        Foxp3 programs the development and function of CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells.

        CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells are essential for the active suppression of autoimmunity. Here we report that the forkhead transcription factor Foxp3 is specifically expressed in CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells and is required for their development. The lethal autoimmune syndrome observed in Foxp3-mutant scurfy mice and Foxp3-null mice results from a CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cell deficiency and not from a cell-intrinsic defect of CD4+CD25- T cells. CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells rescue disease development and preferentially expand when transferred into neonatal Foxp3-deficient mice. Furthermore, ectopic expression of Foxp3 confers suppressor function on peripheral CD4+CD25- T cells. Thus, Foxp3 is a critical regulator of CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cell development and function.
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          Interleukin 17-producing CD4+ effector T cells develop via a lineage distinct from the T helper type 1 and 2 lineages.

          CD4(+) T cells producing interleukin 17 (IL-17) are associated with autoimmunity, although the precise mechanisms that control their development are undefined. Here we present data that challenge the idea of a shared developmental pathway with T helper type 1 (T(H)1) or T(H)2 lineages and instead favor the idea of a distinct effector lineage we call 'T(H)-17'. The development of T(H)-17 cells from naive precursor cells was potently inhibited by interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) and IL-4, whereas committed T(H)-17 cells were resistant to suppression by T(H)1 or T(H)2 cytokines. In the absence of IFN-gamma and IL-4, IL-23 induced naive precursor cells to differentiate into T(H)-17 cells independently of the transcription factors STAT1, T-bet, STAT4 and STAT6. These findings provide a basis for understanding how inhibition of IFN-gamma signaling enhances development of pathogenic T(H)-17 effector cells that can exacerbate autoimmunity.
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            Author and article information

            Journal
            16648838
            10.1038/nature04753

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