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Hum Immunol. 2011 Aug;72(8):621-6. doi: 10.1016/j.humimm.2011.03.013. Epub 2011 May 11.

Foxp3(high) and Foxp3(low) Treg cells differentially correlate with T helper 1 and natural killer cells in peripheral blood.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Medicine, Konyang University, Daejeon 302-711, Korea.


Regulatory T (Treg) cells interact with B, natural killer (NK), and dendritic cells in addition to other T cells. In this study, we aimed at determining whether Foxp3(+) T cells and subpopulations have any correlation with other lymphocyte subsets and their functions in a systemic immune environment. Peripheral blood was drawn from 22 nonpregnant healthy women. T, B, and NK cell subpopulations were measured by immunophenotype analysis. Intracellular Foxp3, cytokine expression (tumor necrosis factor-α [TNF-α], interferon-γ [IFN-γ], and interleukin-10 [IL]-10), and NK-cell cytotoxicity were analyzed by flow cytometric analysis. Correlations between Foxp3(+) T cells and other immune variables were analyzed under control of age and menstrual phases. Foxp3(+), Foxp3(low), and CD4(+)Foxp3(+) cells significantly correlated with CD4(+)CD25(+), CD4(+)CD25(dim), and CD4(+)CD25(bright) cells. Foxp3(+), Foxp3(low), and CD4(+)Foxp3(+) cells positively correlated with CD3(+) and CD3(+)CD4(+) T cells, but negatively correlated with CD3(-)CD56(+) and CD3(-)CD56(dim) NK cells. CD4(+)Foxp3(high) Treg cells were positively correlated with CD3(+)CD4(+)TNF-α(+) (p = 0.014) and negatively correlated with CD3(+)CD8(+)IL-10(+) T cells (p = 0.001). The ratio of type 1/2 cytokine-producing CD3(+)CD8(+) cells demonstrated a positive correlation with CD4(+)Foxp3(high) cells (p ≤ 0.01). CD8(+)Foxp3(+) cells were positively correlated with CD3(+)CD4(+)IL-10(+) cells (p = 0.007) and negatively correlated with CD3(+)CD8(+)TNF-α(+) cells (p = 0.008). In conclusion, each Foxp3(+) Treg cell subpopulation has unique immune interaction, which controls particular subsets of lymphocytes.

Copyright © 2011 American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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