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Nat Med. 2010 Jun;16(6):718-22. doi: 10.1038/nm.2155. Epub 2010 May 23.

In vivo tracking of 'color-coded' effector, natural and induced regulatory T cells in the allograft response.

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  • 1Transplant Institute, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Here we present methods to longitudinally track islet allograft-infiltrating T cells in live mice by endoscopic confocal microscopy and to analyze circulating T cells by in vivo flow cytometry. We developed a new reporter mouse whose T cell subsets express distinct, 'color-coded' proteins enabling in vivo detection and identification of effector T cells (T(eff) cells) and discrimination between natural and induced regulatory T cells (nT(reg) and iT(reg) cells). Using these tools, we observed marked differences in the T cell response in recipients receiving tolerance-inducing therapy (CD154-specific monoclonal antibody plus rapamycin) compared to untreated controls. These results establish real-time cell tracking as a powerful means to probe the dynamic cellular interplay mediating immunologic rejection or transplant tolerance.

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