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Int Immunol. 2008 Aug;20(8):971-9. doi: 10.1093/intimm/dxn056. Epub 2008 Jun 11.

Progressive divergent shifts in natural and induced T-regulatory cells signify the transition from undifferentiated to definitive connective tissue disease.

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1
Division of Clinical Immunology, 3rd Department of Medicine, Medical and Health Science Center, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary. szodoray@gmail.com

Abstract

The objectives of the study is to determine clinical signs and distribution of peripheral T-cell subsets, B cells and T regulatory cells in patients with undifferentiated connective tissue disease (UCTD) and during the development toward well-established connective tissue diseases (CTD). The methods include 46 patients with UCTD were followed and investigated for differentiation into defined CTDs for 2 years. Cell subsets were determined on the basis of cell surface markers, intracellular cytokine production by flow cytometry and serum cytokine levels by ELISA. The results are as follows: 45.6% of UCTD patients developed into a defined CTD. The number and percentage of activated T cells, memory T cells and NKT cells were increased in patients compared with controls. In addition, in patients with UCTD, the percentage of CD4+/IFN gamma+ T(h)1 was significantly higher compared with controls and further increased in patients that developed CTDs. The percentage and absolute number of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) were diminished in UCTD patients compared with healthy controls, while the number of CD4+/IL-10+ Tregs increased. The conclusions are Overproduction of IFN gamma and the decrease of natural (Foxp3+) Tregs seem to be characteristic features of UCTD patients. The increased IL-10 production of CD4+ T cells might be a compensatory suppressive mechanism; however, it is probably not able to balance the overproduction of IFN gamma and the observed decrease of Foxp3+ Tregs. The shift toward T(h)1 with increased IFN gamma production in patients with UCTD combined with the degree of immunoregulatory disturbances characterized by the progressive divergent shifts in natural and induced T-regulatory cell populations signify the transition from undifferentiated to definitive CTD.

PMID:
18550583
DOI:
10.1093/intimm/dxn056
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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