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Eur J Immunol. 2008 Mar;38(3):640-6. doi: 10.1002/eji.200737529.

Generation of highly suppressive adaptive CD8(+)CD25(+)FOXP3(+) regulatory T cells by continuous antigen stimulation.

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Biotechnology Centre and Centre for Molecular Medicine Norway, Nordic EMBL Partnership, University of Oslo, Norway.


Continuous antigen stimulation of CD4(+)CD25(-) T cells leads to generation of adaptive CD4(+)CD25(+)FOXP3(+) regulatory T (T(R)) cells. Here, we show that highly suppressive adaptive CD8(+)CD25(+)FOXP3(+) T cells can be generated in the same manner by continuous antigen stimulation in the presence of CD14(+) monocytes. During the course of stimulation, acquisition of immunosuppressive properties develops in parallel with up-regulation and expression of cytotoxic molecules. The CD8(+) T(R) cells inhibit CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell proliferation and cytokine production, but do not alter the expression of granzyme A and granzyme B or perforin in CD8(+) effector T cells. Although, the CD8(+) T(R) cells express prostaglandin E(2), IL-10 and TGF-beta, the mechanism of suppression was independent of these soluble factors. In contrast to adaptive CD4(+) T(R) cells, the CD8(+) T(R) cells suppress mainly by a contact-dependent mechanism as evident from transwell experiments. However, neither blocking antibodies to CTLA-4, CD80 nor CD86 could reverse CD8(+) T(R)-mediated suppression, indicating that other mechanism(s) must be employed by these cells.

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