FAS/FAS-L dependent killing of activated human monocytes and macrophages by CD4+CD25- responder T cells, but not CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells.
ABSTRACT Conclusive resolution of an immune response is critical for the prevention of autoimmunity and chronic inflammation. We report that following co-culture with autologous CD4+CD25- responder T cells, human CD14+ monocytes and monocyte-derived macrophages become activated but also significantly more prone to apoptosis than monocytes/macrophages cultured alone. In contrast, in the presence of CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells (Tregs), monocytes and macrophages survive whilst adopting an anti-inflammatory phenotype. The induction of monocyte death requires responder T cell activation and cell-contact between responder T cells and monocytes. We demonstrate a critical role for FAS/FAS-L ligation in responder T cell-induced monocyte killing since responder T cells, but not Tregs, upregulate FAS-ligand (FAS-L) mRNA, and induce FAS expression on monocytes. Furthermore, responder T cell-induced monocyte apoptosis is blocked by neutralising FAS/FAS-L interaction, and is not observed when monocytes from an autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome (ALPS) patient with complete FAS-deficiency are used as target cells. Finally, we show that responder T cell-induced killing of monocytes is impaired in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Our data suggest that resolution of inflammation in the course of a healthy immune response is aided by the unperturbed killing of monocytes with inflammatory potential by responder T cells and the induction of longer-lived, Treg-induced, anti-inflammatory monocytes.