Cristiano Scottà

Sapienza University of Rome, Roma, Latium, Italy

Are you Cristiano Scottà?

Claim your profile

Publications (19)100.83 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Clinical tolerance induction to permit minimization or cessation of immunosuppressive drugs is one of the key research goals in solid organ transplantation. The use of ex vivo expanded or manipulated immunologic cells, including CD4CD25FOXP3 regulatory T cells (Tregs), to achieve this aim is already a reality, with several trials currently recruiting patients. Tregs are a highly suppressive, nonredundant, population of regulatory cells that prevent the development of autoimmune diseases in mammals. Data from transplanted humans and animal models support the notion that Tregs can mediate both induction and adoptive transfer of transplantation tolerance. However, human Tregs are highly heterogeneous and include subpopulations with the potential to produce the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-17, which has been linked to transplant rejection. Tregs are also small in number in the peripheral circulation, thus they require ex vivo expansion before infusion into man. Selection of the most appropriate Treg population for cell therapy is, therefore, a critical step in ensuring successful clinical outcomes. In this review, we discuss Treg subpopulations, their subdivision based on nonmutually exclusive criteria of origin, expression of immunologic markers and function, availability in the peripheral blood of patients awaiting transplantation, and their suitability for programs of cell-based therapy.
    Transplantation 06/2014; · 3.78 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Treg cells are critical for the prevention of autoimmune diseases and are thus prime candidates for cell-based clinical therapy. However, human Treg cells are 'plastic', and able to produce IL-17 under inflammatory conditions. Here, we identify and characterize the human Treg sub-population that can be induced to produce IL-17 and identify its mechanisms. We confirm that a sub-population of human Treg cells produces IL-17 in vitro when activated in the presence of IL-1β, but not IL-6. "IL-17 potential" is restricted to population III (CD4(+) CD25(hi) CD127(lo) CD45RA(-) ) Treg cells expressing the natural killer cell marker CD161. We show that these cells are functionally as suppressive and have similar phenotypic/molecular characteristics to other sub-populations of Treg cells and retain their suppressive function following IL-17 induction. Importantly, we find that IL-17 production is STAT3-dependent, with Treg cells from patients with STAT3 mutations unable to make IL-17. Finally, we show that CD161(+) population III Treg cells accumulate in inflamed joints of patients with inflammatory arthritis and are the predominant IL-17 producing Treg-cell population at these sites. As IL-17 production from this Treg-cell sub-population is not accompanied by a loss of regulatory function, in the context of cell therapy, exclusion of these cells from the cell product may not be necessary. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    European Journal of Immunology 05/2013; · 4.97 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Cell-based therapy with natural (CD4(+)CD25(hi)CD127(lo)) regulatory T cells to induce transplant tolerance is now technically feasible. However, regulatory T cells from hemodialysis patients awaiting transplantation may be functionally/numerically defective. Human regulatory T cells are also heterogeneous, and some are able to convert to proinflammatory Th17 cells. This study addresses the suitability of regulatory T cells from hemodialysis patients for cell-based therapy in preparation for the first clinical trials in renal transplant recipients (the ONE Study). DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS, & MEASUREMENTS: Healthy controls and age- and sex-matched hemodialysis patients without recent illness/autoimmune disease on established, complication-free hemodialysis for a minimum of 6 months were recruited. Circulating regulatory T cells were studied by flow cytometry to compare the regulatory T cell subpopulations. Regulatory T cells from members of each group were compared for suppressive function and plasticity (IL-17-producing capacity) before and after in vitro expansion with and without Rapamycin, using standard assays. RESULTS: Both groups had similar total regulatory T cells and subpopulations I and III. In each subpopulation, regulatory T cells expressed similar levels of the function-associated markers CD27, CD39, HLA-DR, and FOXP3. Hemodialysis regulatory T cells were less suppressive, expanded poorly compared with healthy control regulatory T cells, and produced IL-17 in the absence of Rapamycin. However, Rapamycin efficiently expanded hemodialysis regulatory T cells to a functional and stable cell product. CONCLUSIONS: Rapamycin-based expansion protocols should enable clinical trials of cell-based immunotherapy for the induction of tolerance to renal allografts using hemodialysis regulatory T cells.
    Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 04/2013; · 5.07 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Physiological health must balance immunological responsiveness against foreign pathogens with tolerance toward self-components and commensals. Disruption of this balance causes autoimmune diseases/chronic inflammation, in case of excessive immune responses, and persistent infection/immunodeficiency if regulatory components are overactive. This homeostasis occurs at two different levels: at a resting state to prevent autoimmune disease, as autoreactive effector T-cells (Teffs) are only partially deleted in the thymus, and during inflammation to prevent excessive tissue injury, contract the immune response, and enable tissue repair. Adaptive immune cells with regulatory function ("regulatory T-cells") are essential to control Teffs. Two sets of regulatory T cell are required to achieve the desired control: those emerging de novo from embryonic/neonatal thymus ("thymic" or tTregs), whose function is to control autoreactive Teffs to prevent autoimmune diseases, and those induced in the periphery ("peripheral" or pTregs) to acquire regulatory phenotype in response to pathogens/inflammation. The differentiation mechanisms of these cells determine their commitment to lineage and plasticity toward other phenotypes. tTregs, expressing high levels of IL-2 receptor alpha chain (CD25), and the transcription factor Foxp3, are the most important, since mutations or deletions in these genes cause fatal autoimmune diseases in both mice and men. In the periphery, instead, Foxp3(+) pTregs can be induced from naïve precursors in response to environmental signals. Here, we discuss molecular signatures and induction processes, mechanisms and sites of action, lineage stability, and differentiating characteristics of both Foxp3(+) and Foxp3(-) populations of regulatory T cells, derived from the thymus or induced peripherally. We relate these predicates to programs of cell-based therapy for the treatment of autoimmune diseases and induction of tolerance to transplants.
    Frontiers in Immunology 01/2013; 4:169.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Introduction. Adoptive transfer of ex vivo expanded CD4(+)CD25(+)FOXP3(+) regulatory T cells is a successful therapy for autoimmune diseases and transplant rejection in experimental models. In man, equivalent manipulations in bone marrow transplant recipients appear safe, but questions regarding the stability of the transferred regulatory T cells during inflammation remain unresolved. In this study protocols for the expansion of clinically useful numbers of functionally suppressive and stable human regulatory T cells were investigated. Designs and Methods. Regulatory T cells were expanded in vitro with rapamycin and/or all-trans-retinoic acid and then characterized under inflammatory conditions in vitro and in vivo in a humanized mouse model of graft-versus-host disease. Results. Addition of rapamycin to regulatory T cells cultures confirms the generation of high numbers of suppressive regulatory T cells. Their stability was demonstrated in vitro and substantiated in vivo. In contrast, all-trans-retinoic acid-treatment generates regulatory T cells which retain the capacity to secrete IL-17. However, combined use of rapamycin and all-trans-retinoic acid abolishes IL-17 production and confers a specific chemokine receptor homing profile upon regulatory T cells. The use of purified regulatory T cell subpopulations provided direct evidence that rapamycin can confer an early selective advantage to CD45RA(+) regulatory T cells, while all-trans-retinoic acid favors CD45RA(-) regulatory T cell subset. Conclusions. Expansion of regulatory T cells using rapamycin and all-trans-retinoic acid drug combinations provides a new and refined approach for large-scale generation of functionally potent and phenotypically stable human regulatory T cells, rendering them safe for clinical use in settings associated with inflammation.
    Haematologica 12/2012; · 5.94 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Regulatory T cells (CD4(+)CD25(hi)CD127(lo)FOXP3(+) T cells [Tregs]) are a population of lymphocytes involved in the maintenance of self-tolerance. Abnormalities in function or number of Tregs are a feature of autoimmune diseases in humans. The ability to expand functional Tregs ex vivo makes them ideal candidates for autologous cell therapy to treat human autoimmune diseases and to induce tolerance to transplants. Current tests of Treg function typically take up to 120 hours, a kinetic disadvantage as clinical trials of Tregs will be critically dependent on the availability of rapid diagnostic tests before infusion into humans. Here we evaluate a 7-hour flow cytometric assay for assessing Treg function, using suppression of the activation markers CD69 and CD154 on responder T cells (CD4(+)CD25(-) [Tresp]), compared with traditional assays involving inhibition of CFSE dilution and cytokine production. In both freshly isolated and ex vivo expanded Tregs, we describe excellent correlation with gold standard suppressor cell assays. We propose that the kinetic advantage of the new assay may place it as the preferred rapid diagnostic test for the evaluation of Treg function in forthcoming clinical trials of cell therapy, enabling the translation of the large body of preclinical data into potentially useful treatments for human diseases.
    Blood 01/2012; 119(8):e57-66. · 9.78 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Successful expansion of functional CD4(+) CD25(+) regulatory T cells (T(reg)) ex vivo under good manufacturing practice conditions has made T(reg) -cell therapy in clinical transplant tolerance induction a feasible possibility. In animals, T(reg) cells home to both transplanted tissues and local lymph nodes and are optimally suppressive if active at both sites. Therefore, they have the opportunity to suppress both naïve and memory CD4(+) CD25(-) T cells (Tresp). Clinical transplantation commonly involves depleting therapy at induction (e.g. anti-CD25), which favors homeostatic expansion of memory T cells. Animal models suggest that T(reg) cells are less suppressive on memory, compared with naïve Tresp that mediate allograft rejection. As a result, in the context of human T(reg) -cell therapy, it is important to define the effectiveness of T(reg) cells in regulating naïve and memory Tresp. Therefore, we compared suppression of peripheral blood naïve and memory Tresp by fresh and ex vivo expanded T(reg) cells using proliferation, cytokine production and activation marker expression (CD154) as readouts. With all readouts, naïve human Tresp were more suppressible by approximately 30% than their memory counterparts. This suggests that T(reg) cells may be more efficacious if administered before or at the time of transplantation and that depleting therapy should be avoided in clinical trials of T(reg) cells.
    American Journal of Transplantation 08/2011; 11(8):1734-42. · 6.19 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Organ transplantation is currently the only effective treatment for end-stage organ failure. However, success is limited by the immune response of the recipient to allogeneic tissues (recognized by the direct and indirect alloresponses) and by the morbidity and mortality associated with the immunosuppressive drugs that are used to control alloimmunity. One solution to these problems is the induction of immunological tolerance. In our laboratory, we have selected two strategies to achieve this goal. The first is to expand and/or generate Tregs directly in vivo using infusions of 'tolerogenic' DCs into patients; the second is to purify Tregs from the blood of patients on the waiting list for a transplant, enrich and expand these cells in vitro and then inject back in vivo after transplantation. Here, we have summarized our results both in the murine and human systems on the use of Treg-based strategies to induce tolerance to the transplanted organs.
    Immunotherapy 04/2011; 3(4 Suppl):28-31. · 2.39 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The molecular mechanisms whereby CD28 alone or associated with TCR can regulate FOXP3 expression are not understood, although the importance of CD28 as a pivotal regulator of CD4(+) CD25(+) FOXP3(+) T cells is well recognized. We previously demonstrated that unique CD28-induced, NF-κB-dependent signals were sufficient to activate FOXP3 transcription in human CD4(+) CD25(-) T cells; however, the exact mechanisms are currently unknown. In this study, we have identified novel κB-binding sites on FOXP3 gene and demonstrated that CD28 signals mediated FOXP3 trans activation by nuclear translocation of RelA/NF-κB and not of c-Rel. The occupancy of FOXP3 κB-binding sites by RelA dimers that correlated with histone acetylation and recruitment of Pol II were required both to initiate FOXP3 transcription and to control the promoter occupancy by NFAT. Interestingly, knockdown of RelA in CD4(+) CD25(-) T cells stimulated through TCR and CD28 significantly affected FOXP3 expression, confirming that also the transcriptional activation of FOXP3 gene by TCR in the presence of CD28-costimulatory signals is RelA-dependent. In conclusion, these data suggest a new mechanism by which FOXP3 is activated and supports the critical role of CD28 in the regulation of peripheral tolerance.
    European Journal of Immunology 02/2011; 41(2):503-13. · 4.97 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The ability of HCV to mutate in response to cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) pressure is increasingly recognized, but the influence of such a mechanism in viral persistence and final disease outcome has not been ascertained. In this study, we performed a detailed longitudinal analysis of cell mediated immunity and HCV evolution in two self limiting and two chronically evolving HCV acutely infected patients, one of whom transiently controlled viremia. Amino acid mutations in immunodominant regions of viruses were observed in all patients, although they conferred viral escape from CTL responses only in chronically infected individuals. Resurgence of viremia coincided with the replacement of the original virus quasispecies with mutant viruses that had escaped recognition by primary CD8(+) T cell responses and infection persisted in the presence of variant viruses which were less efficiently recognized by preexisting and de novo induced T cell responses.
    Virology 03/2009; 386(2):398-406. · 3.35 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Among the signals necessary to generate CD4(+)CD25(+)FOXP3(+) T cells from CD4(+)CD25(-)FOXP3(-) T cells, a pivotal role is played by CD28. However, in humans, it is not known whether CD28 signaling independently of TCR promotes forkhead box protein 3 (FOXP3) expression and regulates CD4(+)CD25(+)FOXP3(+) T cell functions. To address this issue, starting from our previous experience, we analyzed the unique signals delivered by CD28 following stimulation by its natural ligand B7. Our results show that, in primary CD4(+)CD25(-) T cells, CD28 signals independent of TCR-mediated stimulatory pathways are sufficient to induce the transcription of FOXP3 in a small number of CD4(+)CD25(-) T cells committed to express FOXP3. These signals are dependent on CD28-derived PI3K/Akt pathways and resistant to cyclosporin A. In addition, we demonstrated that translated FOXP3 was recruited to CD25, Il-2, and Ctla4 target promoters. CD28-mediated FOXP3 expression was transient and correlated with CD25 expression. The presence of FOXP3 in CD28-activated CD4(+)CD25(-) T cells correlated with a transient unresponsiveness to antigenic stimuli. The addition of exogenous IL-2 did not influence either FOXP3 or CD25 expression but rescued CD28-activated T cells from apoptosis. Our results, demonstrating that FOXP3 expression driven solely by the CD28/B7 interaction inhibited T cell activation, support the role of CD28 in the regulation of peripheral tolerance and suggest a new mechanism through which it could occur.
    The Journal of Immunology 08/2008; 181(2):1025-33. · 5.52 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Several studies suggest that the evolutionary rate of HVR1 sequence in acute HCV hepatitis derives from the action of a continuous immune-driven positive selection. However, these studies have not been performed examining the relationship between HVR1 evolution and the development of specific immunity to autologous HVR1 sequences. We performed a longitudinal analysis of HVR1 sequences and specific antibodies and CD4+ T cells in ten HCV acutely infected patients with different clinical outcomes (recovery versus persistence). We showed that although both recovered and chronically evolving individuals developed IFN-gamma+ T cells specific for Core and NS sequences, HVR1-specific CD4+ T cells were detected only in patients clearing the virus. On the contrary, all patients displayed anti-HVR1 antibodies that recognized sequences exclusively carried by autologous viruses. Measurements of genetic diversity and the number of non-synonymous per synonymous substitutions within HVR1 sequences before and after antibody appearance showed an increase of these parameters only in concomitance with the appearance of anti-HVR1 antibodies. The evidence that anti-HVR1 antibodies favor HVR1 variant selection suggests that viral complexity in chronically infected patients could represent a virus adaptive strategy to escape the continuous selective process mediated by anti-HVR1 antibodies.
    Journal of Hepatology 03/2008; 48(2):216-28. · 9.86 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cellular immune responses are induced during hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and acute-phase CD8+ T cells are supposed to play an important role in controlling viral replication. In chimpanzees, failure of CD8+ T cells to control HCV replication has been associated with acquisition of mutations in MHC class I-restricted epitopes. In humans, although selection of escape mutations in an immunodominant CTL epitope has been recently described, the overall impact of immune escape during acute HCV infection is unclear. Here, by performing an in depth analysis of the relationship between early cellular immune responses and viral evolution in a chronically evolving HCV acutely infected individual, we demonstrate: (i) the presence of a potent and focused CD8(+ T cell response against a novel epitope in the NS3 protein, (ii) the elimination of the quasi-species harboring the original amino acid sequence within this epitope, and (iii) the selection for a virus population bearing amino acid changes at a single residue within the cytotoxic T cell epitope that strongly diminished T cell recognition. These results support the view that acute-phase CD8+ T cell responses exert a biologically relevant pressure on HCV replication and that viruses escaping this host response could have a significant survival advantage.
    European Journal of Immunology 10/2005; 35(9):2627-37. · 4.97 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We have described previously that hypervariable region 1 (HVR1) variants of hepatitis C virus (HCV) frequently act as T cell receptor (TCR) antagonists for HVR1-specific helper T cells. These naturally occurring HVR1-antagonistic sequences interfered with the effects of HVR1-agonistic sequences such as TCR down-regulation and early activatory signals. By taking advantage of these findings, in this paper, we have analyzed the fate of these HVR1-specific antagonized CD4+ T cells. We present the evidence that TCR antagonism renders agonist-activated T cells susceptible to bystander CD95-mediated killing by suppressing the expression of cellular Fas-associated death domain-like interleukin-1beta-converting enzyme-like inhibitor proteins. To verify whether the TCR repertoire of a HVR1-specific T cell population could be modified consequently, we used a HVR1-agonistic sequence to induce in vitro CD4+ T cells and another HVR1 sequence with antagonistic property to mediate suppressive phenomena. HVR1-specific T cells were cultured with the agonist alone or with the agonist plus the antagonist. HVR1 specificity and T cell repertoires were followed over time by analyzing TCR beta-variable gene segment by "spectratyping". The results showed that the specificity for the agonist was rapidly spoiled after culture in the presence of the antagonist, and the TCR repertoire was strongly modified as a result of CD95-mediated apoptosis of agonist-specific clonal expansions. These data support the hypothesis that in HCV infection, the generation of TCR antagonists may reshape the T cell repertoire, representing an efficacious immune evasion strategy of a highly mutant pathogen.
    Journal of Leukocyte Biology 09/2005; 78(2):372-82. · 4.57 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: An ideal strategy that leads to a vaccine aimed at controlling viral escape may be that of preventing the replication of escape mutants by eliciting a T- and B-cell repertoire directed against many viral variants. The hypervariable region 1 (HVR1) of the putative envelope 2 protein that presents B and T epitopes shown to induce protective immunity against hepatitis C virus (HCV), might be suitable for this purpose if its immunogenicity can be improved by generating mimics that induce broad, highly cross-reactive, anti-HVR1 responses. Recently we described a successful approach to select HVR1 mimics (mimotopes) incorporating the variability found in a great number of viral variants. In this report we explore whether these mimotopes, designed to mimic B-cell epitopes, also mimic helper T-cell epitopes. The first interesting observation is that mimotopes selected for their reactivity to HVR1-specific antibodies of infected patients also do express HVR1 T-cell epitopes, suggesting that similar constraints govern HVR1-specific humoral and cellular immune responses. Moreover, some HVR1 mimotopes stimulate a multispecific CD4(+) T-cell repertoire that effectively cross-reacts with HVR1 native sequences. This may significantly limit effects as a T-cell receptor (TCR) antagonist frequently exerted by natural HVR1-variants on HVR1-specific T-cell responses. In conclusion, these data lend strong support to using HVR1 mimotopes in vaccines designed to prevent replication of escape mutants.
    Hepatology 10/2003; 38(3):653-63. · 12.00 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: T cell suppression is a well established phenomenon, but the mechanisms involved are still a matter of debate. Mouse anergic T cells were shown to suppress responder T cell activation by inhibiting the antigen presenting function of DC. In the present work we studied the effects of co-culturing human anergic CD4+ T cells with autologous dendritic cells (DC) at different stages of maturation. Either DC maturation or survival, depending on whether immature or mature DC where used as APC, was impaired in the presence of anergic cells. Indeed, MHC and costimulatory molecule up-regulation was inhibited in immature DC, whereas apoptotic phenomena were favored in mature DC and consequently in responder T cells. Defective ligation of CD40 by CD40L (CD154) was responsible for CD95-mediated and spontaneous apoptosis of DC as well as for a failure of their maturation process. These findings indicate that lack of activation of CD40 on DC by CD40L-defective anergic cells might be the primary event involved in T cell suppression and support the role of CD40 signaling in regulating both activation and survival of DC.
    Clinical and Developmental Immunology 04/2003; 10(1):61-5. · 3.06 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: T cell suppression exerted by regulatory T cells represents a well-established phenomenon, but the mechanisms involved are still a matter of debate. Recent data suggest that anergic T cells can suppress responder T cell activation by inhibiting Ag presentation by dendritic cells (DC). In this study, we focused our attention on the mechanisms that regulate the susceptibility of DC to suppressive signals and analyzed the fate of DC and responder T cells. To address this issue, we have cocultured human alloreactive or Ag-specific CD4+ T cell clones, rendered anergic by incubation with immobilized anti-CD3 Ab, with autologous DC and responder T cells. We show that anergic T cells affect either Ag-presenting functions or survival of DC, depending whether immature or mature DC are used as APC. Indeed, MHC and costimulatory molecule expression on immature DC activated by responder T cells is inhibited, while apoptotic programs are induced in mature DC and in turn in responder T cells. Ligation of CD95 by CD95L expressed on anergic T cells in the absence of CD40-CD40L (CD154) interaction are critical parameters in eliciting apoptosis in both DC and responder T cells. In conclusion, these findings indicate that the defective activation of CD40 on DC by CD95L+ CD154-defective anergic T cells could be the primary event in determining T cell suppression and support the role of CD40 signaling in regulating both conditioning and survival of DC.
    The Journal of Immunology 03/2002; 168(3):1060-8. · 5.52 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The hypervariable region 1 (HVR1) of the putative envelope 2 protein of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the most variable part of the whole HCV polyprotein. Anti-HVR1 antibodies have been shown to protect against HCV infection, indicating that this region contains an important neutralization determinant. Recently we and others have demonstrated that HVR1 is also a T cell determinant able to activate helper T cell responses during HCV infection. In order to investigate the role of the immune response against HVR1 during HCV infection we have evaluated the humoral and lymphoproliferative responses to a panel of HVR1 peptides in HCV-infected patients with different outcomes of the disease following interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) treatment. We observed that the frequency of anti-HVR1 T cell responses was significantly higher in patients who recovered after IFN-alpha therapy than in those who did not, while no differences in the anti-HVR1 antibody reactivities were detected. In addition, by generating HVR1-specific T cell lines and clones we identified human leukocyte-associated antigens DR4 restricted T cell epitopes in the carboxy-terminus of HVR1 and we demonstrated that broadly cross-reactive HVR1 T cells are elicited by HVR1.
    Virology 05/2000; 269(2):313-24. · 3.37 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In various human viral infections, the appearance of mutated epitopes displaying TCR antagonistic activity has been correlated with the severity and persistence of infection. In hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, where the virus persistence has been associated with the rapid and substantial Ag modifications occurring during replication, TCR antagonism has been evidenced in CD8+ T cell responses. However, CD4+ T cell antagonism may be another important strategy by which HCV eludes a protective response, because sustained Th responses directed against several HCV Ags are associated with a self-limited course of infection. The data reported here represent the first evidence that variants of the hypervariable region (HVR1) of the putative Envelope 2 protein of HCV can act as powerful TCR antagonists for HVR1-specific CD4+ T cells isolated from HCV-infected individuals. Using classical antagonism assays, we observed strong inhibition of cellular proliferation and cytokine production when the agonist and the antagonist ligands were simultaneously presented by the same APCs. The presence in HVR1 of conserved residues, critical for binding to HLA-DR molecules, supports the function of HVR1 variants as TCR antagonists. In conclusion, our data evidence an antagonism phenomenon, which was achieved by naturally occurring class II-restricted T cell epitopes whose mechanism was addressed in terms of the antagonist capacity to inhibit agonist-mediated TCR down-regulation and early signal transduction.
    The Journal of Immunology 08/1999; 163(2):650-8. · 5.52 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

236 Citations
100.83 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1999–2011
    • Sapienza University of Rome
      • • Department of Biology and Biotechnology "Charles Darwin" BBCD
      • • Department of Clinical Medicine
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 2005
    • University of Naples Federico II
      • Department of Molecular Medicine and Health Biotechnology
      Napoli, Campania, Italy