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Nat Immunol. 2007 Sep;8(9):931-41. Epub 2007 Aug 12.

Regulatory T cells expressing interleukin 10 develop from Foxp3+ and Foxp3- precursor cells in the absence of interleukin 10.

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Department of Pathology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama 35294, USA.


CD4(+) regulatory T cells (T(reg) cells) that produce interleukin 10 (IL-10) are important contributors to immune homeostasis. We generated mice with a 'dual-reporter' system of the genes encoding IL-10 and the transcription factor Foxp3 to track T(reg) subsets based on coordinate or differential expression of these genes. Secondary lymphoid tissues, lung and liver had enrichment of Foxp3(+)IL-10(-) T(reg) cells, whereas the large and small intestine had enrichment of Foxp3(+)IL-10(+) and Foxp3(-)IL-10(+) T(reg) cells, respectively. Although negative for Il10 expression, both Foxp3(+) and Foxp3(-) CD4(+) thymic precursor cells gave rise to peripheral IL-10(+) T(reg) cells, with only Foxp3(-) precursor cells giving rise to all T(reg) subsets. Each T(reg) subset developed in IL-10-deficient mice, but this was blocked by treatment with antibody to transforming growth factor-beta. Thus, Foxp3(+) and Foxp3(-) precursor cells give rise to peripheral IL-10-expressing T(reg) cells by a mechanism dependent on transforming growth factor-beta and independent of IL-10.

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