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J Immunol. 2010 Jul 15;185(2):803-7. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1000661. Epub 2010 Jun 14.

Cutting edge: programmed death-1 defines CD8+CD122+ T cells as regulatory versus memory T cells.

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Division of Immunology and Microbiology, University of Texas Health Science Center, Tyler, TX 75708, USA.


Recent convincing data have shown that naturally occurring CD8(+)CD122(+) T cells are also regulatory T cells. Paradoxically, CD8(+)CD122(+) T cells have been well described as memory T cells. Given their critical role in tolerance versus long-term immunity, it is important to reconcile this profound dichotomy. In this study, we reported that CD8(+)CD122(+) T cells contain both programmed death-1 (PD-1)(-) and PD-1(+) populations. It was CD8(+)CD122(+)PD-1(+) T cells, but not their PD-1(-) counterparts, that suppressed T cell responses in vitro and in vivo. This suppression was largely dependent on their production of IL-10. Moreover, the costimulatory signaling of both CD28 and PD-1 is required for their optimal IL-10 production. In contrast, Ag-specific CD8(+)CD122(+)PD-1(-) T cells were bona fide memory T cells. Thus, CD8(+)CD122(+) T cells can be either regulatory T or memory T cells, depending on their PD-1 expression and Ag specificity. This study reconciles previously contradictory findings and has important implications for tolerance induction.

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