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Blood. 2004 Jul 15;104(2):453-61. Epub 2004 Mar 18.

In vitro-expanded human CD4(+)CD25(+) T-regulatory cells can markedly inhibit allogeneic dendritic cell-stimulated MLR cultures.

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  • 1University of Minnesota Cancer Center, MMC no. 806, 420 Delaware St, SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.


CD4(+)CD25(+) T-regulatory (Treg) cells have been shown to critically regulate self- and allograft tolerance in several model systems. Studies of human Treg cells have been restricted by the small number present in peripheral blood and their naturally hypoproliferative state. To better characterize Treg suppressor cell function, we determined methods for the isolation and expansion of these cells. Stringent magnetic microbead-based purification was required for potent suppressor cell line generation. Culture stimulation with cell-sized Dynabeads coated with anti-CD3 and anti-CD28 monoclonal antibodies, CD4(+) feeder cells, and interleukin 2, provided for marked expansion in cell number (100-fold), with retention and enhancement of suppressor function. The potent Treg cell lines suppressed proliferation in dendritic cell-driven allo-mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR) cultures by more than 90%. The Treg-derived suppressor cells functioned early in allo-MLR because expression of activation antigens and accumulation of cytokines was nearly completely prevented. Importantly, cultured Treg cells also suppressed activated and matured dendritic cell-driven responses. These results demonstrate that short-term suppressor cell lines can be generated, and they can express a very potent suppressive activity. This approach will enable more detailed biologic studies of Treg cells and facilitate the evaluation of cultured Treg cells as a novel form of immunosuppressive therapy.

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