Liang S, Alard P, Zhao Y et al.Conversion of CD4+ CD25− cells into CD4+ CD25+ regulatory T cells in vivo requires B7 costimulation, but not the thymus. J Exp Med 201:127-137

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Journal of Experimental Medicine (Impact Factor: 12.52). 02/2005; 201(1):127-37. DOI: 10.1084/jem.20041201
Source: PubMed


The CD4+ CD25+ regulatory T cells play a critical role in controlling autoimmunity, but little is known about their development and maintenance. In this study, we investigated whether CD4+ CD25- cells can convert to CD4+ CD25+ regulatory T cells in vivo under natural conditions. CD4+ CD25- cells from CD45.1+ mice were sorted and transferred into congenic CD45.2+ mice. Converted CD4+ CD25+ cells could be detected in lymphoid organs as early as 1 wk after transfer and by 6 wk after transfer, 5-12% of transferred CD4+ cells expressed CD25. Converted CD4+ CD25+ cells themselves failed to proliferate after stimulation, but could suppress proliferation of responder cells in vitro, and also expressed high levels of Foxp3 mRNA. In addition, CD4+ CD25- cells transferred into thymectomized congenic mice converted to CD4+ CD25+ cells that also suppressed responder cell proliferation in vitro, and expressed high levels of Foxp3 mRNA. Finally, CD4+ CD25- cells transferred into B7-/- mice failed to convert into CD4+ CD25+ cells that exhibit the regulatory phenotype. These data indicate that CD4+ CD25- cells convert into CD4+ CD25+ regulatory T cells spontaneously in vivo and suggest that this conversion process could contribute significantly to the maintenance of the peripheral CD4+ CD25+ regulatory T cell population.

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    • "In these conditions, homeostatic proliferation of the donor cells could be observed and part of the donor cell population became CD25+CTLA-4+GITR+Foxp3+ and acquired suppressive activity. Additionally, when congenitally marked CD4+ CD25− T cells were transferred to WT hosts, 10% of those converted into CD4+ CD25+ Foxp3+ T cells, within 6 weeks (52). "
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    ABSTRACT: To maintain immunological balance the organism has to be tolerant to self while remaining competent to mount an effective immune response against third-party antigens. An important mechanism of this immune regulation involves the action of regulatory T-cell (Tregs). In this mini-review, we discuss some of the known and proposed mechanisms by which Tregs exert their influence in the context of immune regulation, and the contribution of mathematical modeling for these mechanistic studies. These models explore the mechanisms of action of regulatory T cells, and include hypotheses of multiple signals, delivered through simultaneous antigen-presenting cell (APC) conjugation; interaction of feedback loops between APC, Tregs, and effector cells; or production of specific cytokines that act on effector cells. As the field matures, and competing models are winnowed out, it is likely that we will be able to quantify how tolerance-inducing strategies, such as CD4-blockade, affect T-cell dynamics and what mechanisms explain the observed behavior of T-cell based tolerance.
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    • "However, this possibility could not be excluded due to the very small sample number. In addition to generation in the thymus, Treg cells can also be converted from activated effector or memory CD4+CD25− T cells in the periphery [49]. Peripherally converted Treg cells and thymus-generated Treg cells demonstrate a similar phenotype and suppressive functions. "
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    ABSTRACT: Animal studies suggest that regulatory T (T(reg)) cells play a beneficial role in ventricular remodeling and our previous data have demonstrated defects of T(reg) cells in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF). However, the mechanisms behind T(reg-)cell defects remained unknown. We here sought to elucidate the mechanism of T(reg-)cell defects in CHF patients. We performed flow cytometry analysis and demonstrated reduced numbers of peripheral blood CD4(+)CD25(+)FOXP3(+)CD45RO(-)CD45RA(+) naïve T(reg) (nT(reg)) cells and CD4(+)CD25(+)FOXP3(+)CD45RO(+)CD45RA(-) memory T(reg) (mT(reg)) cells in CHF patients as compared with non-CHF controls. Moreover, the nT(reg)/mT(reg) ratio (p<0.01), CD4(+)CD25(+)FOXP3(+)CD45RO(-) CD45RA(+)CD31(+) recent thymic emigrant T(reg) cell (RTE-T(reg)) frequency (p<0.01), and T-cell receptor excision circle levels in T(reg) cells (p<0.01) were lower in CHF patients than in non-CHF controls. Combined annexin-V and 7-AAD staining showed that peripheral T(reg) cells from CHF patients exhibited increased spontaneous apoptosis and were more prone to interleukin (IL)-2 deprivation- and CD95 ligand-mediated apoptosis than those from non-CHF individuals. Furthermore, analyses by both flow cytometry and real-time polymerase chain reaction showed that T(reg)-cell frequency in the mediastinal lymph nodes or Foxp3 expression in hearts of CHF patients was no higher than that of the non-CHF controls. Our data suggested that the T(reg)-cell defects of CHF patients were likely caused by decreased thymic output of nascent T(reg) cells and increased susceptibility to apoptosis in the periphery.
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    • "CD4+Foxp3GFPhi cells, that constituted 13% of all transferred T cells, express mostly TCRs found almost exclusively in the Treg population. Since TCRmini mice are not lymphopenic, transferred cells do not undergo homeostatic expansion leading to spontaneous upregulation of Foxp3 and CD4+Foxp3GFP- cells that acquire Foxp3 expression represent adaptive Treg cells generated in response to self peptides or antigens derived from commensal flora [20], [41]. Figure 7 shows analysis of recipient mice that received populations of CD4+Ly5.1+/−Foxp3GFP- and CD4+ Ly5.1+/+Foxp3GFPhi cells. "
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    ABSTRACT: The presence of Foxp3(+) regulatory CD4(+) T cells in tumor lesions is considered one of the major causes of ineffective immune response in cancer. It is not clear whether intratumoral T(reg) cells represent T(reg) cells pre-existing in healthy mice, or arise from tumor-specific effector CD4(+) T cells and thus representing adaptive T(reg) cells. The generation of T(reg) population in tumors could be further complicated by recent evidence showing that both in humans and mice the peripheral population of T(reg) cells is heterogenous and consists of subsets which may differentially respond to tumor-derived antigens. We have studied T(reg) cells in cancer in experimental mice that express naturally selected, polyclonal repertoire of CD4(+) T cells and which preserve the heterogeneity of the T(reg) population. The majority of T(reg) cells present in healthy mice maintained a stable suppressor phenotype, expressed high level of Foxp3 and an exclusive set of TCRs not used by naive CD4(+) T cells. A small T(reg) subset, utilized TCRs shared with effector T cells and expressed a lower level of Foxp3. We show that response to tumor-derived antigens induced efficient clonal recruitment and expansion of antigen-specific effector and T(reg) cells. However, the population of T(reg) cells in tumors was dominated by cells expressing TCRs shared with effector CD4(+) T cells. In contrast, T(reg) cells expressing an exclusive set of TCRs, that dominate in healthy mice, accounted for only a small fraction of all T(reg) cells in tumor lesions. Our results suggest that the T(reg) repertoire in tumors is generated by conversion of effector CD4(+) T cells or expansion of a minor subset of T(reg) cells. In conclusion, successful cancer immunotherapy may depend on the ability to block upregulation of Foxp3 in effector CD4(+) T cells and/or selectively inhibiting the expansion of a minor T(reg) subset.
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