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Blood. 2009 May 21;113(21):5125-33. doi: 10.1182/blood-2009-01-199950. Epub 2009 Mar 18.

Selective expression of latency-associated peptide (LAP) and IL-1 receptor type I/II (CD121a/CD121b) on activated human FOXP3+ regulatory T cells allows for their purification from expansion cultures.

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Laboratory of Immunology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Although adoptive transfer of regulatory T cells (Foxp3(+) Tregs) has proven to be efficacious in the prevention and treatment of autoimmune diseases and graft-versus-host disease in rodents, a major obstacle for the use of Treg immunotherapy in humans is the difficulty of obtaining a highly purified preparation after ex vivo expansion. We have identified latency-associated peptide (LAP) and IL-1 receptor type I and II (CD121a/CD121b) as unique cell-surface markers that distinguish activated Tregs from activated FOXP3(-) and FOXP3(+) non-Tregs. We show that it is feasible to sort expanded FOXP3(+) Tregs from non-Tregs with the use of techniques for magnetic bead cell separation based on expression of these 3 markers. After separation, the final product contains greater than 90% fully functional FOXP3(+) Tregs. This novel protocol should facilitate the purification of Tregs for both cell-based therapies as well as detailed studies of human Treg function in health and disease.

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