Requirement of cognate CD4+ T-cell recognition for the regulation of allospecific CTL by human CD4+ CD127- CD25+ FOXP3+ cells generated in MLR

Yu, Y.; Miller, J.; Leventhal, J.R.; Tambur, A.R.; Chandrasekaran, D.; Levitsky, J.; Luo, X.; Mathew, J.M.

Plos one 6(7): E22450


ISSN/ISBN: 1932-6203
PMID: 21799858
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0022450
Accession: 055511125

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Although immunoregulation of alloreactive human CTLs has been described, the direct influence of CD4(+) Tregs on CD8(+) cytotoxicity and the interactive mechanisms have not been well clarified. Therefore, human CD4(+)CD127(-)CD25(+)FOXP3(+) Tregs were generated in MLR, immunoselected and their allospecific regulatory functions and associated mechanisms were then tested using modified (51)Chromium release assays (Micro-CML), MLRs and CFSE-based multi-fluorochrome flow cytometry proliferation assays. It was observed that increased numbers of CD4(+)CD127(-)CD25(+)FOXP3(+) cells were generated after a 7 day MLR. After immunoselection for CD4(+)CD127(-)CD25(+) cells, they were designated as MLR-Tregs. When added as third component modulators, MLR-Tregs inhibited the alloreactive proliferation of autologous PBMC in a concentration dependent manner. The inhibition was quasi-antigen specific, in that the inhibition was non-specific at higher MLR-Treg modulator doses, but non-specificity disappeared with lower numbers at which specific inhibition was still significant. When tested in micro-CML assays CTL inhibition occurred with PBMC and purified CD8(+) responders. However, antigen specificity of CTL inhibition was observed only with unpurified PBMC responders and not with purified CD8(+) responders or even with CD8(+) responders plus Non-T "APC". However, allospecificity of CTL regulation was restored when autologous purified CD4(+) T cells were added to the CD8(+) responders. Proliferation of CD8(+) cells was suppressed by MLR-Tregs in the presence or absence of IL-2. Inhibition by MLR-Tregs was mediated through down-regulation of intracellular perforin, granzyme B and membrane-bound CD25 molecules on the responding CD8(+) cells. Therefore, it was concluded that human CD4(+)CD127(-)CD25(+)FOXP3(+) MLR-Tregs down-regulate alloreactive cytotoxic responses. Regulatory allospecificity, however, requires the presence of cognate responding CD4(+) T cells. CD8(+) CTL regulatory mechanisms include impaired proliferation, reduced expression of cytolytic molecules and CD25(+) activation epitopes.