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J Immunol. 2004 Jan 15;172(2):787-94.

CD7 and CD28 are required for murine CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cell homeostasis and prevention of thyroiditis.

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  • 1Department of Medicine and the Duke University Human Vaccine Institute, Duke University Medical Center, Box 3258, Research Park Building 1, Room 113, Research Drive, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


CD7 and CD28 are T cell Ig superfamily molecules that share common signaling mechanisms. To determine roles CD7 and CD28 might play in peripheral lymphocyte development and function, we have generated CD7/CD28-double-deficient mice. CD7- and CD28-single-deficient and CD7/CD28-double-deficient mice had normal levels of CD4 and CD8-single-positive T cells in thymus and spleen. However, CD28-deficient mice had decreased CD4+CD25+ T cells in spleen compared with wild-type mice, and CD7/CD28-double-deficient mice had decreased numbers of CD4+CD25+ T cells in both thymus and spleen compared with both wild-type and CD28-deficient mice. Functional studies demonstrated that CD4+CD25+ T cells from CD28-deficient and CD7/CD28-double-deficient mice could mediate suppression of CD3 mAb activation of CD4+CD25- wild-type T cells, but were less potent than wild-type CD4+CD25+ T regulatory cells. Thyroiditis developed in aged CD7/CD28-double-deficient mice (>1 year) that was not seen in age-matched control mice or single CD7- or CD28-deficient mice, thus suggesting in vivo loss of T regulatory cells allowed for the development of spontaneous thyroiditis. Taken together, these data demonstrated collaborative roles for both CD7 and CD28 in determination of number and function of CD4+CD25+ T regulatory cells in the thymus and peripheral immune sites and in the development of spontaneous thyroiditis.

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