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J Immunol. 2005 Feb 15;174(4):1783-6.

Cutting edge: contact-mediated suppression by CD4+CD25+ regulatory cells involves a granzyme B-dependent, perforin-independent mechanism.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Dartmouth Medical School and Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Lebanon, NH 03756, USA.


CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells (Treg) are potent immunosuppressive cells that are pivotal in the regulation of peripheral tolerance. In this report, we identify granzyme B (GZ-B) as one of the key components of Treg-mediated suppression. Induction of regulatory activity is correlated with the up-regulation of GZ-B expression. Proof of a functional involvement of GZ-B in contact-mediated suppression by Treg is shown by the reduced ability of Treg from GZ-B-/- mice to suppress as efficiently as Treg from WT mice. GZ-B-mediated suppression is perforin independent, because suppression by Treg from perforin-/- and WT is indistinguishable. Additionally, suppression mediated by Treg appears to be mediated, in part, by the induction of apoptosis in the CD4+CD25- effector cell. In summary, GZ-B is one of the key mechanisms through which CD4+CD25+ Treg induce cell contact-mediated suppression.

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