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Eur J Immunol. 2003 Mar;33(3):579-87.

CD4 T cell activation by myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein is suppressed by adult but not cord blood CD25+ T cells.

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Department of Rheumatology and Inflammation Research, University of Göteborg, Guldhedsgatan 10A, S-41346 Göteborg, Sweden.


Regulatory T cells expressing CD25 have been shown to protect rodents from organ-specific autoimmune diseases. Similar CD25+ cells with a memory phenotype exerting suppressive function after polyclonal or allogeneic stimulation are also present in adult human blood. We demonstrate that adult human CD25+ cells regulate the response to myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG), as depletion of CD25(+) cells increases responses of PBMC and the addition of purified CD25+ cells suppresses MOG-specific proliferation and IFN-gamma production of CD4(+)CD25(-) T cells. In contrast, cord blood CD25+ cells do not inhibit responses to self antigens, and only a small subpopulation of cord CD25+ cells expresses the typical phenotype of adult regulatory T cells (CD45RA(-) and GITR(+)) enabling suppression of polyclonal responses. We conclude that activation of self-reactive T cells in normal healthy individuals is prevented by the presence of self-antigen-specific CD25+ regulatory T cells and that the majority of these cells mature after birth.

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