Activation-induced FOXP3 in human T effector cells does not suppress proliferation or cytokine production.
ABSTRACT Forkhead box P3 (FOXP3) is currently thought to be the most specific marker for naturally occurring CD4(+)CD25(+) T regulatory cells (nTregs). In mice, expression of FoxP3 is strictly correlated with regulatory activity, whereas increasing evidence suggests that in humans, activated T effector cells (Teffs) may also express FOXP3. In order to better define the role of FOXP3 in human Teff cells, we investigated the intensity and kinetics of expression in ex vivo Teff cells, suppressed Teff cells and Teff cell lines. We found that all dividing Teff cells expressed FOXP3, but only transiently, and at levels that were significantly lower than those in suppressive nTregs. This temporary expression in Teff cells was insufficient to suppress expression of reported targets of FOXP3 repressor activity, including CD127, IL-2 and IFN-gamma, and was not correlated with induction of a nTreg phenotype. Thus expression of FOXP3 is a normal consequence of CD4(+) T cell activation and, in humans, it can no longer be used as an exclusive marker of nTregs. These data indicate that our current understanding of how FOXP3 contributes to immune tolerance in humans needs to be re-evaluated.
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ABSTRACT: The emergence of regulatory T cells (Tregs) as central mediators of peripheral tolerance in the immune system has led to an important area of clinical investigation to target these cells for the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes. We have demonstrated earlier that in vitro treatment of T cells from healthy individuals with TX527, a low-calcemic analog of bioactive vitamin D, can promote a CD4+CD25highCD127low regulatory profile and imprint a migratory signature specific for homing to sites of inflammation. Towards clinical application of vitamin D-induced Tregs in autologous adoptive immunotherapy for type 1 diabetes, we show here that 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1,25(OH)2D3] and TX527 similarly imprint T cells from type 1 diabetes patients with a CD4+CD25highCD127low regulatory profile, modulate surface expression of skin- and inflammation-homing receptors, and increase expression of CTLA-4 and OX-40. Also, 1,25(OH)2D3 and TX527 treatment inhibit the production of effector cytokines IFN-γ, IL-9, and IL-17. Importantly, 1,25(OH)2D3 and TX527 promote the induction of IL-10-producing CD4+CD25highCD127low T cells with a stable phenotype and the functional capacity to suppress proliferation of autologous responder T cells in vitro. These findings warrant additional validation of vitamin D-induced Tregs in view of future autologous adoptive immunotherapy in type 1 diabetes.PLoS ONE 10/2014; 9(10):e109194. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Malignancy is an important cause of death in transplant recipients. Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) causes significant morbidity and mortality as 30% of transplant recipients will develop cSCC within 10 years of transplantation. Previously we have shown that high numbers of regulatory T cells (Tregs) are associated with the development of cSCC in kidney transplant recipients (KTRs). Demethylation analysis of the Treg-specific demethylated region (TSDR) provides a more accurate association with cSCC risk after transplantation. Age, gender and duration of immunosuppression matched KTRs with (n = 32) and without (n = 27) cSCC, were re-analyzed for putative clinical and immunological markers of cancer risk. The proportion of FOXP3+ CD4+ cells was higher in the population with a previous SCC. Major T cell subsets remained stable over time; although B cell, CD8 and CD4 subpopulations demonstrated age-related changes. TSDR methylation analysis allowed clarification of Treg numbers, enhancing the association of high Treg levels in KTRs with cSCC compared to the cSCC-free cohort. These data validate and expand on previous findings in long-term KTRs, and show that immune markers remain stable over time. TSDR demethylation analysis provides a more accurate biomarker of cancer posttransplantation.American Journal of Transplantation 09/2014; · 6.19 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Regulatory T (Treg) cells, as central mediators of immune suppression, play crucial roles in many aspects of immune system's physiology and pathophysiology. The transcription factor Foxp3 has been characterized as a master gene of Tregs. Yet Treg cells possess a distinct pattern of gene expression, including upregulation of immune-suppressive genes and silencing of inflammatory cytokine genes. Recent studies have revealed the molecular mechanisms that establish and maintain such gene regulation in Treg cells. This review discusses recent progress in our understanding of molecular features of Treg cells, with particular attention to Treg-cell lineage commitment and stability.Advances in Immunology 01/2014; 124C:249-273. · 5.53 Impact Factor