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Folia Histochem Cytobiol. 2010 Jan 1;48(1):93-100. doi: 10.2478/v10042-008-0113-5.

The mRNA expression of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines in T regulatory cells in children with type 1 diabetes.

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Department of Pediatrics, Endocrinology, Diabetology with Cardiology Division, Medical University of Białystok, Białystok, Poland.


Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) is caused by the autoimmune-mediated destruction of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. T regulatory cells (Tregs) represent an active mechanism of suppressing autoreactive T cells that escape central tolerance. The aim of our study was to test the hypothesis that T regulatory cells express pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, elements of cytotoxicity and OX40/4-1BB molecules. The examined group consisted of 50 children with T1DM. Fifty two healthy individuals (control group) were enrolled into the study. A flow cytometric analysis of T-cell subpopulations was performed using the following markers: anti-CD3, anti-CD4, anti-CD25, anti-CD127, anti-CD134 and anti-CD137. Concurrently with the flow cytometric assessment of Tregs we separated CD4+CD25+CD127dim/- cells for further mRNA analysis. mRNA levels for transcription factor FoxP3, pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines (interferon gamma, interleukin-2, interleukin-4, interleukin-10, transforming growth factor beta1 and tumor necrosis factor alpha), activatory molecules (OX40, 4-1BB) and elements of cytotoxicity (granzyme B, perforin 1) were determined by real-time PCR technique. We found no alterations in the frequency of CD4+CD25highCD127low cells between diabetic and control children. Treg cells expressed mRNA for pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. Lower OX40 and higher 4-1BB mRNA but not protein levels in Treg cells in diabetic patients compared to the healthy children were noted. Our observations confirm the presence of mRNA for pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines in CD4+CD25+CD127dim/- cells in the peripheral blood of children with T1DM. Further studies with the goal of developing new strategies to potentiate Treg function in autoimmune diseases are warranted.

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