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J Immunol. 2002 Nov 1;169(9):4712-6.

Cutting edge: CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells suppress antigen-specific autoreactive immune responses and central nervous system inflammation during active experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.

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Department of Microbiology-Immunology and Interdepartmental Immunobiology Center, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.


Autoreactive CD4(+) T cells exist in normal individuals and retain the capacity to initiate autoimmune disease. The current study investigates the role of CD4(+)CD25(+) T-regulatory (T(R)) cells during autoimmune disease using the CD4(+) T cell-dependent myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)-specific experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis model of multiple sclerosis. In vitro, T(R) cells effectively inhibited both the proliferation of and cytokine production by MOG(35-55)-specific Th1 cells. In vivo, adoptive transfer of T(R) cells conferred significant protection from clinical experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis which was associated with normal activation of autoreactive Th1 cells, but an increased frequency of MOG(35-55)-specific Th2 cells and decreased CNS infiltration. Lastly, transferred T(R) cells displayed an enhanced ability to traffic to the peripheral lymph nodes and expressed increased levels of the adhesion molecules ICAM-1 and P-selectin that may promote functional interactions with target T cells. Collectively, these findings suggest that T(R) cells contribute notably to the endogenous mechanisms that regulate actively induced autoimmune disease.

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