Interleukin-2 gene variation impairs regulatory T cell function and causes autoimmunity

Article (PDF Available)inNature Genetics 39(3):329-37 · April 2007with38 Reads
DOI: 10.1038/ng1958 · Source: PubMed
Abstract
Autoimmune diseases are thought to result from imbalances in normal immune physiology and regulation. Here, we show that autoimmune disease susceptibility and resistance alleles on mouse chromosome 3 (Idd3) correlate with differential expression of the key immunoregulatory cytokine interleukin-2 (IL-2). In order to test directly that an approximately twofold reduction in IL-2 underpins the Idd3-linked destabilization of immune homeostasis, we show that engineered haplodeficiency of Il2 gene expression not only reduces T cell IL-2 production by twofold but also mimics the autoimmune dysregulatory effects of the naturally occurring susceptibility alleles of Il2. Reduced IL-2 production achieved by either genetic mechanism correlates with reduced function of CD4(+) CD25(+) regulatory T cells, which are critical for maintaining immune homeostasis.