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J Immunol. 2006 Apr 1;176(7):3900-4.

Cutting edge: IL-4-induced protection of CD4+CD25- Th cells from CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cell-mediated suppression.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy.


CD4(+)CD25(+) T regulatory (Treg) cells are a CD4(+) T cell subset involved in the control of the immune response. In vitro, murine CD4(+)CD25(+) Treg cells inhibit CD4(+)CD25(-) Th cell proliferation induced by anti-CD3 mAb in the presence of APCs. The addition of IL-4 to cocultured cells inhibits CD4(+)CD25(+) Treg cell-mediated suppression. Since all cell types used in the coculture express the IL-4Ralpha chain, we used different combinations of CD4(+)CD25(-) Th cells, CD4(+)CD25(+) Treg cells, and APCs from wild-type IL-4Ralpha(+/+) or knockout IL-4Ralpha(-/-) mice. Results show that the engagement of the IL-4Ralpha chain on CD4(+)CD25(-) Th cells renders these cells resistant to suppression. Moreover, the addition of IL-4 promotes proliferation of IL-4Ralpha(+/+)CD4(+)CD25(+) Treg cells, which preserve full suppressive competence. These findings support an essential role of IL-4 signaling for CD4(+)CD25(-) Th cell activation and indicate that IL-4-induced proliferation of CD4(+)CD25(+) Treg cells is compatible with their suppressive activity.

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