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Immunity. 2007 Oct;27(4):635-46. Epub 2007 Oct 4.

Granzyme B and perforin are important for regulatory T cell-mediated suppression of tumor clearance.

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Division of Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.


Granzyme B is important for the ability of NK cells and CD8(+) T cells to kill their targets. However, we showed here that granzyme B-deficient mice clear both allogeneic and syngeneic tumor cell lines more efficiently than do wild-type (WT) mice. To determine whether regulatory T (Treg) cells utilize granzyme B to suppress immune responses against these tumors, we examined the expression and function of granzyme B in Treg cells. Granzyme B was not expressed in naive Treg cells but was highly expressed in 5%-30% of CD4(+)Foxp3(+) Treg cells in the tumor environment. Adoptive transfer of WT Treg cells, but not granzyme B- or perforin-deficient Treg cells, into granzyme B-deficient mice partially restored susceptibility to tumor growth; Treg cells derived from the tumor environment could induce NK and CD8(+) T cell death in a granzyme B- and perforin-dependent fashion. Granzyme B and perforin are therefore relevant for Treg cell-mediated suppression of tumor clearance in vivo.

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