Elevated T regulatory cells in long-term stable transplant tolerance in rhesus macaques induced by anti-CD3 immunotoxin and deoxyspergualin.
Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are implicated in immune tolerance and are variably dependent on IL-10 for in vivo function. Brief peritransplant treatment of multiple nonhuman primates (NHP) with anti-CD3 immunotoxin and deoxyspergualin has induced stable (5-10 years) rejection-free tolerance to MHC-mismatched allografts, which associated with sustained elevations in serum IL-10. In this study, we demonstrate that resting and activated PBMC from long-term tolerant NHP recipients are biased to secrete high levels of IL-10, compared with normal NHP PBMC. Although IL-10-producing CD4+ Tregs (type 1 regulatory cells (TR1)/IL-10 Tregs) were undetectable (<0.5%) in normal rhesus monkeys, 7.5 +/- 1.7% of circulating CD4+ T cells of tolerant rhesus recipients expressed IL-10. In addition to this >15-fold increase in Tr1/IL-10 Tregs, the tolerant monkeys exhibited a nearly 3-fold increase in CD4+CD25+ Tregs, 8.1 +/- 3.0% of CD4 T cells vs 2.8 +/- 1.4% in normal cohorts (p < 0.02). The frequency of CD4+CD25+IL-10+ cells was elevated 5-fold in tolerant vs normal NHP (1.8 +/- 0.9% vs 0.4 +/- 0.2%). Rhesus CD4+CD25+ Tregs exhibited a memory phenotype, and expressed high levels of Foxp3 and CTLA-4 compared with CD4+CD25- T cells. Also, NHP CD4+CD25+ Tregs proliferated poorly after activation and suppressed proliferation of CD4+CD25- effector T cells, exhibiting regulatory properties similar to rodent and human CD4+CD25+ Tregs. Of note, depletion of CD4+CD25+ Tregs restored indirect pathway antidonor responses in tolerant NHP. Our study demonstrates an expanded presence of Treg populations in tolerant NHP recipients, suggesting that these adaptations may be involved in maintenance of stable tolerance.
Asiedu, CK; Goodwin, KJ; Balgansuren, G; Jenkins, SM; Le Bas-Bernardet, S; Jargal, U; Neville, DM; Thomas, JM
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