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Transplantation. 2006 Dec 15;82(11):1484-92.

A potential side effect of cyclosporin A: inhibition of CD4(+)CD25(+) regulatory T cells in mice.

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Transplantation Biology Research Division, State Key Laboratory of Biomembrane and Membrane Biotechnology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.



CD4CD25 regulatory T (Treg) cells are essential for the induction and maintenance of immunologic self-tolerance as well as transplant tolerance. The effects of cyclosporin A (CsA), a widely used immunosuppressive agent, on CD4CD25Treg cells in mice were investigated.


Balb/c mice were injected with CsA or control solution for one month. The levels, phenotype, and function of CD4CD25Treg cells in these mice were then assayed.


The percentages and total cell numbers of CD4CD25Treg cells in the peripheral blood and spleen were significantly reduced after the treatment with CsA. The total numbers of CD4CD25Treg cells in the thymus of CsA-treated mice were markedly reduced as compared to the control mice. However, the percentage of CD4CD25Treg cells in the thymus of CsA-treated mice was markedly enhanced. More CD4CD25Treg cells expressing high levels of CD44 and CD45RB, and less CD4CD25Treg cells expressing CD62L were observed in CsA-treated mice, compared with the control mice. CD4CD25Treg cells expressed slightly lower levels of Foxp3 in CsA-treated mice. Furthermore, CsA markedly impaired the immunosuppressive function of CD4CD25Treg cells.


CsA significantly impaired the development and function of CD4CD25Treg cells. The present studies suggest that CsA may block the potential induction of immune tolerance and increase the susceptibility to develop autoimmune diseases while preventing graft rejection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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