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J Immunol. 2005 Mar 1;174(5):2957-63.

CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells control innate immune reactivity after injury.

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Department of Surgery (Immunology), Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Major injury initiates a systemic inflammatory response that can be detrimental to the host. We have recently reported that burn injury primes innate immune cells for a progressive increase in TLR4 and TLR2 agonist-induced proinflammatory cytokine production and that this inflammatory phenotype is exaggerated in adaptive immune system-deficient (Rag1(-/-)) mice. The present study uses a series of adoptive transfer experiments to determine which adaptive immune cell type(s) has the capacity to control innate inflammatory responses after injury. We first compared the relative changes in TLR4- and TLR2-induced TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, and IL-6 production by spleen cell populations prepared from wild-type (WT), Rag1(-/-), CD4(-/-), or CD8(-/-) mice 7 days after sham or burn injury. Our findings indicated that splenocytes prepared from burn-injured CD8(-/-) mice displayed TLR-induced cytokine production levels similar to those in WT mice. In contrast, spleen cells from burn-injured CD4(-/-) mice produced cytokines at significantly higher levels, equivalent to those in Rag1(-/-) mice. Moreover, reconstitution of Rag1(-/-) or CD4(-/-) mice with WT CD4(+) T cells reduced postinjury cytokine production to WT levels. Additional separation of CD4(+) T cells into CD4(+)CD25(+) and CD4(+)CD25(-) subpopulations before their adoptive transfer into Rag1(-/-) mice showed that CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells were capable of reducing TLR-stimulated cytokine production levels to WT levels, whereas CD4(+)CD25(-) T cells had no regulatory effect. These findings suggest a previously unsuspected role for CD4(+)CD25(+) T regulatory cells in controlling host inflammatory responses after injury.

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