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Lupus. 2009 Jun;18(7):586-96. doi: 10.1177/0961203308100511.

Suppression of murine SLE by oral anti-CD3: inducible CD4+CD25-LAP+ regulatory T cells control the expansion of IL-17+ follicular helper T cells.

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  • 1Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Lupus is an antibody-mediated autoimmune disease. The production of pathogenic, class switched and affinity maturated autoantibodies in lupus is dependent on T cell help. A potential mechanism of disease pathogenesis is a lack of control of pathogenic T helper cells by regulatory T cells in lupus. It has been repeatedly shown that the naturally occurring CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells in lupus prone mice and patients with SLE are defective both in frequency and function. Thus, the generation of inducible regulatory T cells that can control T cell help for autoantibody production is a potential avenue for the treatment of SLE. We have found that oral administration of anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody attenuated lupus development and arrested on-going disease in lupus prone SNF1 mice. Oral anti-CD3 induces a CD4+CD25-LAP+ regulatory T cell that secrets high levels of TGF-beta and suppresses in vitro in TFG-beta-dependent fashion. Animals treated with oral anti-CD3 had less glomerulonephritis and diminished levels of anti-dsDNA autoantibodies. Oral anti-CD3 led to a downregulation of IL-17+CD4+ICOS-CXCR5+ follicular helper T cells, CD138+ plasma cells and CD73+ mature memory B cells. Our results show that oral anti-CD3 induces CD4+CD25-LAP+ regulatory T cells that suppress lupus in mice and is associated with downregulation of T cell help for autoantibody production.

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