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J Infect Dis. 2010 Jun 15;201(12):1839-48. doi: 10.1086/652781.

Role played by CD4+FOXP3+ regulatory T Cells in suppression of host responses to Haemophilus ducreyi during experimental infection of human volunteers.

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Department of Medicine, Laboratory Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, USA.


Haemophilus ducreyi causes chancroid, a genital ulcer disease. Among human volunteers, the majority of experimentally infected individuals fail to clear the infection and form pustules. Here, we investigated the role played by CD4(+)FOXP3(+) regulatory T (T(reg)) cells in the formation of pustules. In pustules, there was a significant enrichment of CD4(+)FOXP3(+) T cells, compared with that in peripheral blood. The majority of lesional FOXP3(+) T cells were CD4(+), CD25(+), CD127(lo/-), and CTLA-4(+). FOXP3(+) T cells were found throughout pustules but were most abundant at their base. Significantly fewer lesional CD4(+)FOXP3(+) T cells expressed interferon gamma, compared with lesional CD4(+)FOXP3(-) effector T cells. Depletion of CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells from the peripheral blood of infected and uninfected volunteers significantly enhanced proliferation of H. ducreyi-reactive CD4(+) T cells. Our results indicate that the population of CD4(+)CD25(+)CD127(lo/-)FOXP3(+) T(reg) cells are expanded at H. ducreyi-infected sites and that these cells may play a role in suppressing the host immune response to the bacterium.

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