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Thorax. 2013 Dec;68(12):1131-9. doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2012-201956. Epub 2013 Jun 7.

Imbalance between subpopulations of regulatory T cells in COPD.

Author information

1
Department of Respiratory Medicine, Beijing Tongren Hospital, Capital Medical University, , Beijing, China.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Recent evidence indicates that human regulatory T cells (Tregs) are composed of three distinct subpopulations: CD25(++) CD45RA(+) resting Tregs (rTregs), CD25(+++) CD45RA(-) activated Tregs (aTregs), which are suppressive, and CD25(++) CD45RA(-) cytokine-secreting (Fr III) cells with pro-inflammatory capacity.

OBJECTIVES:

To evaluate the dynamic changes in circulating and pulmonary Treg subpopulations in smokers and patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and to explore their potential roles in COPD pathogenesis.

METHODS:

Blood samples were obtained from 57 never-smokers, 32 smokers with normal lung function and 66 patients with COPD. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) samples were taken from 12 never-smokers, 12 smokers and 18 patients with COPD. The proportions of Treg subpopulations and activated CD8 T cells were evaluated using flow cytometry.

RESULTS:

In peripheral blood, increased proportions of rTregs, aTregs and Fr III cells were found in smokers compared with never-smokers, whereas patients with COPD showed decreased rTregs and aTregs, and significantly increased Fr III cells compared with smokers. The changes in Treg subpopulations, with an overall decrease in the (aTreg+rTreg):(Fr III) ratio, indicated that immune homeostasis favoured inflammation and correlated with enhanced CD8 T-cell activation (r=-0.399, p<0.001) and forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) % predicted value (r=0.435, p<0.001).The BAL (aTreg+rTreg):(Fr III) ratios displayed more robust correlations with FEV1% predicted value (r=0.741, p<0.01) and activation of effector T cells (r=-0.763, p<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS:

The imbalance between the anti-inflammatory subsets (aTreg+rTreg) and the pro-inflammatory subset (Fr III) of Tregs may play an important role in COPD progression.

KEYWORDS:

Bronchoscopy; COPD AU Mechanisms; Lymphocyte Biology

PMID:
23749814
DOI:
10.1136/thoraxjnl-2012-201956
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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