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J Autoimmun. 2012 Feb;38(1):49-58. doi: 10.1016/j.jaut.2011.12.009. Epub 2012 Jan 20.

Demethylation analysis of the FOXP3 locus shows quantitative defects of regulatory T cells in IPEX-like syndrome.

Author information

1
San Raffaele Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy, Division of Regenerative Medicine, Stem Cells and Gene Therapy, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Via Olgettina 58, 20131 Milan, Italy.

Abstract

Immune dysregulation, Polyendocrinopathy, Enteropathy X-linked (IPEX) syndrome is a unique example of primary immunodeficiency characterized by autoimmune manifestations due to defective regulatory T (Treg) cells, in the presence of FOXP3 mutations. However, autoimmune symptoms phenotypically resembling IPEX often occur in the absence of detectable FOXP3 mutations. The cause of this "IPEX-like" syndrome presently remains unclear. To investigate whether a defect in Treg cells sustains the immunological dysregulation in IPEX-like patients, we measured the amount of peripheral Treg cells within the CD3(+) T cells by analysing demethylation of the Treg cell-Specific-Demethylated-Region (TSDR) in the FOXP3 locus and demethylation of the T cell-Specific-Demethylated-Region (TLSDR) in the CD3 locus, highly specific markers for stable Treg cells and overall T cells, respectively. TSDR demethylation analysis, alone or normalized for the total T cells, showed that the amount of peripheral Treg cells in a cohort of IPEX-like patients was significantly reduced, as compared to both healthy subjects and unrelated disease controls. This reduction could not be displayed by flow cytometric analysis, showing highly variable percentages of FOXP3(+) and CD25(+)FOXP3(+) T cells. These data provide evidence that a quantitative defect of Treg cells could be considered a common biological hallmark of IPEX-like syndrome. Since Treg cell suppressive function was not impaired, we propose that this reduction per se could sustain autoimmunity.

PMID:
22264504
PMCID:
PMC3314976
DOI:
10.1016/j.jaut.2011.12.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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