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PLoS Biol. 2008 Nov 11;6(11):e276. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0060276.

Specific immunosuppression with inducible Foxp3-transduced polyclonal T cells.

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  • 1Medical Research Council, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Abstract

Forkhead box p3 (Foxp3)-expressing regulatory T cells are key mediators of peripheral tolerance suppressing undesirable immune responses. Ectopic expression of Foxp3 confers regulatory T cell phenotype to conventional T cells, lending itself to therapeutic use in the prevention of autoimmunity and transplant rejection. Here, we show that adoptive transfer of polyclonal, wild-type T cells transduced with an inducible form of Foxp3 (iFoxp3) can be used to suppress immune responses on demand. In contrast to Foxp3-transduced cells, iFoxp3-transduced cells home "correctly" into secondary lymphoid organs, where they expand and participate in immune responses. Upon induction of iFoxp3, the cells assume regulatory T cell phenotype and start to suppress the response they initially partook in without causing systemic immunosuppression. We used this approach to suppress collagen-induced arthritis, in which conventional Foxp3-transduced cells failed to show any effect. This provides us with a generally applicable strategy to specifically halt immune responses on demand without prior knowledge of the antigens involved.

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