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Immunity. 2011 Feb 25;34(2):237-46. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2011.01.016. Epub 2011 Feb 17.

Intestinal tolerance requires gut homing and expansion of FoxP3+ regulatory T cells in the lamina propria.

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Institute of Immunology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.


Tolerance to food antigen manifests in the absence and/or suppression of antigen-specific immune responses locally in the gut but also systemically, a phenomenon known as oral tolerance. Oral tolerance is thought to originate in the gut-draining lymph nodes, which support the generation of FoxP3(+) regulatory T (Treg) cells. Here we use several mouse models to show that Treg cells, after their generation in lymph nodes, need to home to the gut to undergo local expansion to install oral tolerance. Proliferation of Treg cells in the intestine and production of interleukin-10 by gut-resident macrophages was blunted in mice deficient in the chemokine (C-X3-C motif) receptor 1 (CX3CR1). We propose a model of stepwise oral tolerance induction comprising the generation of Treg cells in the gut-draining lymph nodes, followed by migration into the gut and subsequent expansion of Treg cells driven by intestinal macrophages.

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