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J Immunol. 2006 Jun 15;176(12):7278-87.

IL-1 beta breaks tolerance through expansion of CD25+ effector T cells.

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  • 1Centre for Immunology and Cancer Research, University of Queensland, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Australia.


IL-1 is a key proinflammatory driver of several autoimmune diseases including juvenile inflammatory arthritis, diseases with mutations in the NALP/cryopyrin complex and Crohn's disease, and is genetically or clinically associated with many others. IL-1 is a pleiotropic proinflammatory cytokine; however the mechanisms by which increased IL-1 signaling promotes autoreactive T cell activity are not clear. Here we show that autoimmune-prone NOD and IL-1 receptor antagonist-deficient C57BL/6 mice both produce high levels of IL-1, which drives autoreactive effector cell expansion. IL-1beta drives proliferation and cytokine production by CD4(+)CD25(+)FoxP3(-) effector/memory T cells, attenuates CD4(+)CD25(+)FoxP3(+) regulatory T cell function, and allows escape of CD4(+)CD25(-) autoreactive effectors from suppression. Thus, inflammation or constitutive overexpression of IL-1beta in a genetically predisposed host can promote autoreactive effector T cell expansion and function, which attenuates the ability of regulatory T cells to maintain tolerance to self.

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