Intestinal commensal bacteria promote T cell hyporesponsiveness and down-regulate the serum antibody responses induced by dietary antigen

Food and Physiological Functions Laboratory, Department of Food Bioscience and Biotechnology, Nihon University, 1866 Kameino Fujisawa-shi, Kanagawa, 252-0880, Japan.
Immunology letters (Impact Factor: 2.51). 08/2010; 132(1-2):45-52. DOI: 10.1016/j.imlet.2010.05.007
Source: PubMed


Colonization of the gut by commensal bacteria modulates the induction of oral tolerance and allergy. However, how these intestinal bacteria modulate antigen-specific T cell responses induced by oral antigens remains unclear. In order to investigate this, we used germ-free (GF) ovalbumin (OVA)-specific T cell receptor transgenic (OVA23-3) mice. Conventional (CV) or GF mice were administered an OVA-containing diet. Cytokine production by CD4(+) cells from spleen (SP), mesenteric lymph nodes (MLN) and Peyer's patches (PP) was evaluated by ELISA, as was the peripheral antibody titer. T cell phenotype was assessed by flow cytometry. CD4(+) cells from the SP and MLN of CV and GF mice fed an OVA diet for 3 weeks produced significantly less IL-2 than the corresponding cells from mice receiving a control diet, suggesting that oral tolerance could be induced at the T cell level in the systemic and intestinal immune systems of both bacterial condition of mice. However, we also observed that the T cell hyporesponsiveness induced by dietary antigen was delayed in the systemic immune tissues and was weaker in the intestinal immune tissues of the GF mice. Intestinal MLN and PP CD4(+) T cells from these animals also produced lower levels of IL-10, had less activated/memory type CD45RB(low) cells, and expressed lower levels of CTLA-4 but not Foxp3 compared to their CV counterparts. Furthermore, GF mice produced higher serum levels of OVA-specific antibodies than CV animals. CD40L expression by SP CD4(+) cells from GF mice fed OVA was higher than that of CV mice. These results suggest that intestinal commensal bacteria promote T cell hyporesponsiveness and down-regulate serum antibody responses induced by dietary antigens through modulation of the intestinal and systemic T cell phenotype.

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