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J Immunol. 2013 Aug 1;191(3):1136-43. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1201899. Epub 2013 Jul 1.

Comparison of induced versus natural regulatory T cells of the same TCR specificity for induction of tolerance to an environmental antigen.

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Department of Veterinary Microbiology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 5B4, Canada.


Recent evidence shows that natural CD25(+)Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells (nTreg) and induced CD25(+)Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells (iTreg) both contribute to tolerance in mouse models of colitis and asthma, but there is little evidence regarding their relative contributions to this tolerance. We compared the abilities of nTreg and iTreg, both from OVA-TCR-transgenic OTII mice, to mediate tolerance in OVA-asthmatic C57BL/6 mice. The iTreg were differentiated from Th2 effector T cells by exposure to IL-10-differentiated dendritic cells (DC10) in vitro or in vivo, whereas we purified nTreg from allergen-naive mice and exposed them to DC10 before use. Each Treg population was subsequently repurified and tested for its therapeutic efficacy in vitro and in vivo. DC10 engaged the nTreg in a cognate fashion in Forster (or fluorescence) resonance energy transfer assays, and these nTreg reduced in vitro OVA-asthmatic Th2 effector T cell responses by 41-56%, whereas the comparator iTreg reduced these responses by 72-86%. Neutralization of IL-10, but not TGF-β, eliminated the suppressive activities of iTreg but not nTreg. Delivery of 5 × 10(5) purified nTreg reduced allergen challenge-induced airway IL-4 (p ≤ 0.03) and IL-5 (p ≤ 0.001) responses of asthmatic recipients by ≤ 23% but did not affect airway hyperresponsiveness or IgE levels, whereas equal numbers of iTreg of identical TCR specificity reduced all airway responses to allergen challenge by 82-96% (p ≤ 0.001) and fully normalized airway hyperresponsiveness. These data confirm that allergen-specific iTreg and nTreg have active roles in asthma tolerance and that iTreg are substantially more tolerogenic in this setting.

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