Human ROR?t+ TH17 cells preferentially differentiate from naive FOXP3+Treg in the presence of lineage-specific polarizing factors.
ABSTRACT: ROR?t(+) T(H)17 cells are a proinflammatory CD4(+) T-cell population associated with autoimmune tissue injury. In mice, priming of T(H)17 requires TGF-?, which alone directs the priming of FOXP3(+) regulatory T cells (Treg), in association with inflammatory cytokines. Priming of human T(H)17 cells from conventional naive CD4(+) T cells under similar conditions, however, has proved difficult to achieve. Here, we report that differentiation of human T(H)17 cells preferentially occurs from FOXP3(+) naive Treg (NTreg) in the presence of IL-2 and IL-1? and is increased by IL-23 and TGF-?. IL-1?-mediated differentiation correlated with IL-1RI expression in stimulated NTreg and was accompanied by induction of ROR?t along with down-regulation of FOXP3. IL-17-secreting cells in NTreg cultures cosecreted TNF-? and IL-2 and contained distinct subpopulations cosecreting or not cosecreting IFN-? and other T(H)17-associated cytokines. Polarized NTreg contained significant subpopulations of CCR6-expressing cells that were highly enriched in IL-17-secreting cells. Finally, analysis of CCR6 expression with respect to that of IL-1RI identified distinct IL-17-secreting subpopulations that had maintained or lost their suppressive functions. Together our results support the concept that priming of human T(H)17 from naive CD4(+) T cells preferentially takes place from FOXP3(+) Treg precursors in the presence of lineage-specific polarizing factors.
Project description:Th17 cells play key roles in mediating autoimmunity, inflammation and mucosal host defense against pathogens. To determine whether naturally occurring Treg (nTreg) limit Th17-mediated pulmonary inflammation, OVA-specific CD4+ Th17 cells and expanded CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ nTreg were cotransferred into BALB/c mice that were then exposed to OVA aerosols. Th17 cells, when transferred alone, accumulated in the lungs and posterior mediastinal LN and evoked a pronounced airway hyperreactivity and neutrophilic inflammation, characterized by B-cell recruitment and elevated IgA and IgM levels. Cotransfer of antigen-specific nTreg markedly reduced the Th17-induced pulmonary inflammation and associated neutrophilia, B-cell influx and polymeric Ig levels in the airways, but did not inhibit airway hyperreactivity. Moreover, the regulation appeared restricted to the site of mucosal inflammation, since transfer of nTreg did not affect the Th17 response developing in the lung draining LN, as evidenced by unaltered levels of IL-17 production and low numbers of Foxp3+ Treg. Our findings suggest a crucial role for Th17 cells in mediating airway B-cell influx and IgA response, and demonstrate that antigen-specific nTreg suppress Th17-mediated lung inflammation. These results provide new insights into how Th17 responses are limited and may facilitate development of novel approaches for controlling Th17-induced inflammation.
Project description:Transcription factors act in concert to induce lineage commitment towards Th1, Th2, or T regulatory (Treg) cells, and their counter-regulatory mechanisms were shown to be critical for polarization between Th1 and Th2 phenotypes. FOXP3 is an essential transcription factor for natural, thymus-derived (nTreg) and inducible Treg (iTreg) commitment; however, the mechanisms regulating its expression are as yet unknown. We describe a mechanism controlling iTreg polarization, which is overruled by the Th2 differentiation pathway. We demonstrated that interleukin 4 (IL-4) present at the time of T cell priming inhibits FOXP3. This inhibitory mechanism was also confirmed in Th2 cells and in T cells of transgenic mice overexpressing GATA-3 in T cells, which are shown to be deficient in transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta-mediated FOXP3 induction. This inhibition is mediated by direct binding of GATA3 to the FOXP3 promoter, which represses its transactivation process. Therefore, this study provides a new understanding of tolerance development, controlled by a type 2 immune response. IL-4 treatment in mice reduces iTreg cell frequency, highlighting that therapeutic approaches that target IL-4 or GATA3 might provide new preventive strategies facilitating tolerance induction particularly in Th2-mediated diseases, such as allergy.
Project description:FOXP3+ regulatory T cell (Treg) based cellular therapies represent promising therapeutic options in autoimmunity, allergy, transplantation and prevention of Graft Versus Host (GVH) Disease. Among human FOXP3-expressing CD4+T cells, only the CD45RA+ naïve Treg (nTreg) subset is suitable for in vitro expansion. However, FoxP3 expression decays in cells using currently described culture protocols. Rapamycin alone was not able to prevent FOXP3 loss in nTregs cells, as only a half of them maintained FOXP3 expression after 14 days of culture. In contrast we report a novel combined drug regimen that can drastically stabilize FOXP3 expression in cultured Tregs. IL-2, rapamycin, histone deacetylase and DNA methyltransferase inhibitors act in synergy to allow expansion of human regulatory T cells with sustained high expression of FOXP3 and CD15s with potent suppressive capacities in vitro and control of murine xeno-GVH reactions. Of note, an additional subsequent infusion of expanded nTreg cells did not improve survival of mice. Combination of IL-2, rapamycin, histone deacetylase and DNA methyltransferase inhibitors is optimal for the expansion in vitro of pure effective nTreg maintaining high levels of FOXP3 for therapeutic purposes.
Project description:Foxp3, a winged-helix family transcription factor, serves as the master switch for CD4(+) regulatory T cells (Treg). We identified a unique and evolutionarily conserved CpG-rich island of the Foxp3 nonintronic upstream enhancer and discovered that a specific site within it was unmethylated in natural Treg (nTreg) but heavily methylated in naive CD4(+) T cells, activated CD4(+) T cells, and peripheral TGFbeta-induced Treg in which it was bound by DNMT1, DNMT3b, MeCP2, and MBD2. Demethylation of this CpG site using the DNA methyltransferase inhibitor 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (Aza) induced acetylation of histone 3, interaction with TIEG1 and Sp1, and resulted in strong and stable induction of Foxp3. Conversely, IL-6 resulted in methylation of this site and repression of Foxp3 expression. Aza plus TGFbeta-induced Treg resembled nTreg, expressing similar receptors, cytokines, and stable suppressive activity. Strong Foxp3 expression and suppressor activity could be induced in a variety of T cells, including human CD4(+)CD25(-) T cells. Epigenetic regulation of Foxp3 can be predictably controlled with DNMT inhibitors to generate functional, stable, and specific Treg.
Project description:A subset of human regulatory T cells (Tregs) secretes IL-17 and thus resembles Th17 effector cells. How IL-17(+) Tregs differentiate from naive precursors remains unclear. In this study, we show that IL-17-producing T cells can differentiate from CCR6(+) naive T cell precursors in the presence of IL-2, IL-1?, TGF-?, and IL-23. CCR6(+) naive T cells are present in adult peripheral and umbilical cord blood and in both conventional T naive and FOXP3(+) naive Treg subsets. IL-17(+) cells derived from CCR6(+) naive Tregs (referred to as IL-17(+) Tregs) express FOXP3 but not HELIOS, another Treg-associated transcription factor, and these cells display suppressor capacity and a surface phenotype resembling memory Tregs. Remarkably, the IL-17(+) Treg compartment was preferentially reduced relative to the canonical Th17 and Treg compartments in a subset of HIV(+) subjects, suggesting a specific perturbation of this subset during the course of disease. Our findings that CCR6(+) naive precursors contain a predetermined reservoir to replenish IL-17-secreting cells may have implications in balancing the Th17 and IL-17(+) Treg compartments that are perturbed during HIV infection and potentially in other inflammatory diseases.
Project description:Signaling events affecting thymic selection of un-manipulated polyclonal natural CD25(+)foxp3(+) regulatory T cells (nTreg) have not been established ex vivo. Here, we report a higher frequency of phosphorylated STAT-5 (pSTAT-5) in nTreg cells in the adult murine thymus and to a lesser extent in the periphery, compared to other CD4(+)CD8(-) subsets. In the neonatal thymus, the numbers of pSTAT-5(+) cells in CD25(+)foxp3(-) and nTreg cells increased in parallel, suggesting that pSTAT-5(+)CD25(+)foxp3(-) cells might represent the precursors of foxp3(+) regulatory T cells. This "specific" pSTAT-5 expression detected in nTreg cells ex vivo was likely due to a very recent signal given by IL-2/IL-15 cytokines in vivo since (i) it disappeared rapidly if cells were left unstimulated in vitro and (ii) was also observed if total thymocytes were stimulated in vitro with saturating amounts of IL-2 and/or IL-15 but not IL-7. Interestingly, STAT-5 activation upon IL-2 stimulation correlated better with foxp3 and CD122 than with CD25 expression. Finally, we show that expression of an endogenous superantigen strongly affected the early Treg cell repertoire but not the proportion of pSTAT-5(+) cells within this repertoire. Our results reveal that continuous activation of the CD122/STAT-5 signaling pathway characterize regulatory lineage differentiation in the murine thymus.
Project description:Transferred CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ Treg cells can prevent autoimmune disease, but generally fail to ameliorate established disease. This study was undertaken to compare the effects of antigen-specific Treg cells induced with interleukin-2 (IL-2) and transforming growth factor ? (TGF?) ex vivo (induced Treg [iTreg] cells) to the effects of equivalent expanded thymus-derived natural Treg (nTreg) cells on established collagen-induced arthritis (CIA).CIA was induced in DBA/1 mice by immunization with type II collagen (CII), and before or shortly after immunization, mice were treated with iTreg or nTreg cells that were generated or expanded in vitro. Clinical scores were determined. Inflammatory responses were determined by measuring the levels of anti-CII antibody in the serum and examining the histologic features of the mouse joints. The Th1/Th17-mediated autoreactive response was evaluated by determining the cytokine profile of the draining lymph node (LN) cells of the mice by flow cytometry.Following transfer, nTreg cells exhibited decreased FoxP3 and Bcl-2 expression and decreased suppressive activity, and many converted to Th17 cells. In contrast, transferred iTreg cells were more numerous, retained FoxP3 expression and their suppressive activity in the presence of IL-6, and were resistant to Th17 conversion. Notably, 10 days after the transfer of donor iTreg cells, predominance was shifted from Th17 cells to Treg cells in the draining LNs of recipient mice.These findings provide evidence that transferred TGF?-induced iTreg cells are more stable and functional than nTreg cells in mice with established autoimmunity. Moreover, iTreg cells can have tolerogenic effects even in the presence of ongoing inflammation. The therapeutic potential of human iTreg cells in subjects with chronic, immune-mediated inflammatory diseases should be investigated.
Project description:Acute graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) is a major cause of mortality in allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT), for which administration of FoxP3(+) regulatory T (Treg) cells has been proposed as a therapy. However, the phenotypic stability of Treg cells is controversial, and STAT3-dependent cytokines can inhibit FoxP3 expression. We assessed whether the elimination of STAT3 in T cells could limit the severity of GvHD. We found STAT3 limited FoxP3(+) Treg cell numbers following allogeneic BMT by two pathways: instability of natural Treg (nTreg) cells and inhibition of induced Treg (iTreg) cell polarization from naive CD4(+) T cells. Deletion of STAT3 within only the nTreg cell population was not sufficient to protect against lethal GvHD. In contrast, transfer of STAT3-deficient naive CD4(+) T cells increased FoxP3(+) Treg cells post-BMT and prevented lethality, suggesting that the consequence of STAT3 signaling may be greater for iTreg rather than nTreg cells during GvHD.
Project description:CD4(+)CD25(+)FOXP3(+) Regulatory T cells (Treg) play a central role in the immune balance to prevent autoimmune disease. One outstanding question is how Tregs suppress effector immune responses in human. Experiments in mice demonstrated that Treg restrict effector T cell (Teff) responses by deprivation of the growth factor IL-2 through Treg consumption, resulting in apoptosis of Teff.In this study we investigated the relevance of Teff apoptosis induction to human Treg function. To this end, we studied naturally occurring Treg (nTreg) from peripheral blood of healthy donors, and, to investigate Treg function in inflammation in vivo, Treg from synovial fluid of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) patients (SF-Treg). Both nTreg and SF-Treg suppress Teff proliferation and cytokine production efficiently as predicted. However, in contrast with murine Treg, neither nTreg nor SF-Treg induce apoptosis in Teff. Furthermore, exogenously supplied IL-2 and IL-7 reverse suppression, but do not influence apoptosis of Teff.Our functional data here support that Treg are excellent clinical targets to counteract autoimmune diseases. For optimal functional outcome in human clinical trials, future work should focus on the ability of Treg to suppress proliferation and cytokine production of Teff, rather than induction of Teff apoptosis.
Project description:Adoptive transfer of thymus-derived natural regulatory T cells (nTregs) effectively suppresses disease in murine models of autoimmunity and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). TGFß induces Foxp3 expression and suppressive function in stimulated murine CD4+25- T cells, and these induced Treg (iTregs), like nTreg, suppress auto- and allo-reactivity in vivo. However, while TGFß induces Foxp3 expression in stimulated human T cells, the expanded cells lack suppressor cell function. Here we show that Rapamycin (Rapa) enhances TGFß-dependent Foxp3 expression and induces a potent suppressor function in naive (CD4+ 25-45RA+) T cells. Rapa/TGFß iTregs are anergic, express CD25 at levels higher than expanded nTregs and few cells secrete IL-2, IFN? or IL-17 even after PMA and Ionomycin stimulation in vitro. Unlike other published methods of inducing Treg function, Rapa/TGFß induces suppressive function even in the presence of memory CD4+ T cells. A single apheresis unit of blood yields an average ~240 × 10? (range ~ 70-560 × 10?) iTregs from CD4+25- T cells in ? 2 weeks of culture. Most importantly, Rapa/TGFß iTregs suppress disease in a xenogeneic model of GVHD. This study opens the door for iTreg cellular therapy for human diseases.