Self-specific memory regulatory T cells protect embryos at implantation in mice.
ABSTRACT: Regulatory T cells (Tregs) play crucial roles in both fetal and tumor development. We recently showed that immunosurveillance by pre-existing CD44(high)CD62L(low) activated/memory Tregs (amTregs) specific for self-Ags protects emergent tumor cells in mice. This Treg response of a memory type is more rapid than and dominates the antitumor response of tumor-specific effector T cells. In this study, we report striking similarities between the early Treg responses to embryo and tumor implantation. Tregs are rapidly recruited to uterus-draining lymph nodes and activated in the first days after embryo implantation in both syngeneic and allogeneic matings; express the markers of the amTreg subset; and are at least in part self-Ag specific, as seen in tumor emergence. Unlike in the tumor emergence setting, however, for which preimmunization against tumor Ags is sufficient for complete tumor eradication even in the presence of Tregs, Treg depletion is additionally required for high frequencies of fetus loss after preimmunization against paternal tissue Ags. Thus, amTregs play a major role in protecting embryos in both naive and preimmune settings. This role and the ensuing therapeutic potential are further highlighted by showing that Treg stimulation, directly by low-dose IL-2 or indirectly by Fms-related tyrosine kinase 3 ligand, led to normal pregnancy rates in a spontaneous abortion-prone model.
Project description:Early responses of Tregs and effector T cells (Teffs) to their first encounter with tumor cells have been poorly characterized. Here we have shown, in both implanted and in situ-induced mouse tumor models, that the appearance of tumor cells is immediately sensed by CD44hi memory Tregs that are specific for self antigens. The rapid response of these Tregs preceded and prevented activation of naive antitumor Teffs. The relative speed of the Treg versus the Teff response within the first 2-4 days determined the outcome of the antitumor immune response: tolerance or rejection. If antitumor memory Teffs were present at the time of tumor emergence, both Tregs and Teffs were recruited and activated with memory kinetics; however, the Tregs were unable to control the Teffs, which eradicated the tumor cells. This balance between effector and regulatory responses did not depend on the number of Tregs and Teffs, but rather on their memory status. Thus, in the natural setting, dominant tolerogenic immunosurveillance by self-specific memory Tregs protects tumors, just as it protects normal tissues. More generally, our results reveal that the timing of Treg and Teff engagement, determined by their memory status, is an important mode of regulation of immune responses.
Project description:Implantation of the fertilized egg into the maternal uterus depends on the fine balance between inflammatory and anti-inflammatory processes. Whilst regulatory T cells (Tregs) are reportedly involved in protection of allogeneic fetuses against rejection by the maternal immune system, their role for pregnancy to establish, e.g., blastocyst implantation, is not clear. By using 2-photon imaging we show that Foxp3(+) cells accumulated in the mouse uterus during the receptive phase of the estrus cycle. Seminal fluid further fostered Treg expansion. Depletion of Tregs in two Foxp3.DTR-based models prior to pairing drastically impaired implantation and resulted in infiltration of activated T effector cells as well as in uterine inflammation and fibrosis in both allogeneic and syngeneic mating combinations. Genetic deletion of the homing receptor CCR7 interfered with accumulation of Tregs in the uterus and implantation indicating that homing of Tregs to the uterus was mediated by CCR7. Our results demonstrate that Tregs play a critical role in embryo implantation by preventing the development of a hostile uterine microenvironment.
Project description:Maternal-fetal chimerism is miniscule, a testament to the integrity of the uteroplacental interface. The soundness of this border region is potentially altered through cesarean delivery of prior babies with uncertain consequences for the following pregnancies.Using multicolor flow cytometry and quantitative PCR of non-inherited maternal antigens we performed a retrospective case control pilot study and formulated the null hypothesis that placental implantation over a prior uterine scar does not result in the presence of memory Treg (CD45RO+) in the fetus. We then performed a power calculation and performed a blinded, appropriately powered prospective case control study to test the null hypothesis.Fetuses born to mothers with prior uterine scar have a roughly five times higher maternal to fetal microchimerism when the placenta directly interacts with the uterine scar. Unlike exposure to antigens in adult life, in utero antigenic exposure induces tolerogenic (Treg) responses in fetuses and we here report the presence of fetal Treg with a memory phenotype (CD45RO+). However, we only find such CD45RO+ fetal Tregs when the placenta abuts the uterine scar (Risk Ratio?=?5 [p?<?0.05 CI:(1.448 to 17.27)]). These memory fetal Tregs are functionally highly suppressive compared to CD45RA-expressing fetal Tregs, and have specificity for non-inherited maternal antigens.We found that uterine scars, in the case of our study these scars are from prior c-sections, fundamentally impair uterine integrity allowing for increased antigen exposure of the fetus; with our appropriately powered study we rejected the null hypothesis and accepted the alternative hypothesis that placental implantation over a prior uterine scar results in the presence of memory Treg (CD45RO+) in the fetus. Thus, our study demonstrates a previously unappreciated role for uterine integrity in limiting fetal antigenic exposure, a key element to avoid the formation of inappropriate tolerances by the fundamentally tolerogenic fetal immune system.
Project description:Uterine receptivity and embryo implantation are two main processes that need a finely regulated balance between pro-inflammatory and tolerogenic mediators to allow a successful pregnancy. The neuroimmune peptide vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) is a key regulator, and it is involved in the induction of regulatory T cells (Tregs), which are crucial in both processes. Here, we analyzed the ability of endogenous and exogenous VIP to sustain a tolerogenic microenvironment during the peri-implantation period, particularly focusing on Treg recruitment. Wild-type (WT) and VIP-deficient mice [heterozygous (HT, +/-), knockout (KO, -/-)], and FOXP3-knock-in-GFP mice either pregnant or in estrus were used. During the day of estrus, we found significant histological differences between the uterus of WT mice vs. VIP-deficient mice, with the latter exhibiting undetectable levels of FOXP3 expression, decreased expression of interleukin (IL)-10, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)c, and increased gene expression of the Th17 proinflammatory transcription factor ROR?t. To study the implantation window, we mated WT and VIP (+/-) females with WT males and observed altered FOXP3, VEGFc, IL-10, and transforming growth factor (TGF)? gene expression at the implantation sites at day 5.5 (d5.5), demonstrating a more inflammatory environment in VIP (+/-) vs. VIP (+/+) females. A similar molecular profile was observed at implantation sites of WT × WT mice treated with VIP antagonist at d3.5. We then examined the ability GFP-sorted CD4+ cells from FOXP3-GFP females to migrate toward conditioned media (CM) obtained from d5.5 implantation sites cultured in the absence/presence of VIP or VIP antagonist. VIP treatment increased CD4+FOXP3+ and decreased CD4+ total cell migration towards implantation sites, and VIP antagonist prevented these effects. Finally, we performed adoptive cell transfer of Tregs (sorted from FOXP3-GFP females) in VIP-deficient-mice, and we observed that FOXP3-GFP cells were mainly recruited into the uterus/implantation sites compared to all other tested tissues. In addition, after Treg transfer, we found an increase in IL-10 expression and VEGFc in HT females and allowed embryo implantation in KO females. In conclusion, VIP contributes to a local tolerogenic response necessary for successful pregnancy, preventing the development of a hostile uterine microenvironment for implantation by the selective recruitment of Tregs during the peri-implantation period.
Project description:Implantation of the fertilized egg depends on the coordinated interplay of cells and molecules that prepare the uterus for this important event. In particular, regulatory T cells (Tregs) are key regulators as their ablation hinders implantation by rendering the uterus hostile for the embryo. In addition, the adoptive transfer of Tregs can avoid early abortion in mouse models. However, it is still not defined which mechanisms underlie Treg function during this early period. Cells of the innate immune system have been reported to support implantation, in part by promoting angiogenesis. In particular, uterine mast cells (uMCs) emerge as novel players at the fetal-maternal interface. Here, we studied whether the positive action of Tregs is based on the expansion of uMCs and the promotion of angiogenesis. We observed that abortion-prone mice have insufficient numbers of uMCs that could be corrected by the adoptive transfer of Tregs. This in turn positively influenced the remodeling of spiral arteries and placenta development as well as the levels of soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1 (sFlt-1). Our data suggest an interplay between Tregs and uMCs that is relevant for the changes required at the feto-maternal interface for the normal development of pregnancy.
Project description:An increased population of CD4(+)CD25(high)Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells (Tregs) in the tumor-associated microenvironment plays an important role in cancer immune evasion. However, the underlying mechanism remains unclear. Here we observed an increased secretion of miR-214 in various types of human cancers and mouse tumor models. Tumor-secreted miR-214 was sufficiently delivered into recipient T cells by microvesicles (MVs). In targeted mouse peripheral CD4(+) T cells, tumor-derived miR-214 efficiently downregulated phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) and promoted Treg expansion. The miR-214-induced Tregs secreted higher levels of IL-10 and promoted tumor growth in nude mice. Furthermore, in vivo studies indicated that Treg expansion mediated by cancer cell-secreted miR-214 resulted in enhanced immune suppression and tumor implantation/growth in mice. The MV delivery of anti-miR-214 antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) into mice implanted with tumors blocked Treg expansion and tumor growth. Our study reveals a novel mechanism through which cancer cell actively manipulates immune response via promoting Treg expansion.
Project description:Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are major components of tumor-infiltrating immune cells with potent immunosuppressive properties in gastric cancer (GC) microenvironment. However, different subsets of the Tregs and their relevance to GC are unknown. Here, we found that patients with GC showed a significantly higher Tregs infiltration in tumors, and CD45RA-CCR7- Treg subset constituted most tumor-infiltrating Tregs. Tumor-infiltrating CD45RA-CCR7- Treg subset with an effector/memory phenotype accumulated in tumors and expressed low level of HLA-DR. Gastric tumor-derived TNF-? induced CD45RA-CCR7- Treg subset with similar phenotype to their status in tumors and inhibited their HLA-DR expression via activating STAT3 phosphorylation. These tumor-associated CD45RA-CCR7- Treg subset exerted superior immunosuppressive properties to effectively suppress CD8+ T cells' anti-tumor function including CD8+ T-cell IFN-? and granzyme B (GrB) production as well as CD8+ T-cell proliferation in vitro, and also contributed to the growth and progression of human gastric tumors in vivo, via IL-10 secretion and cell-cell contact mechanisms. Moreover, increased tumor-infiltrating CD45RA-CCR7- Treg subset as well as higher intratumoral CD45RA-CCR7- Treg/CD8+ T-cell ratio was associated with advanced disease progression and reduced GC patient survival. This study therefore identifies a novel immunosuppressive pathway involving CD45RA-CCR7- Treg subset development within the GC microenvironment. Efforts to inhibit this pathway may therefore prove a valuable strategy to prevent, and to treat this immune suppressive of GC.
Project description:BACKGROUND:CD4+ T cells are of great importance in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), as an imbalance between CD4+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) and CD4+ responder T cells (Tresps) causes flares of active disease in SLE patients. In this study, we aimed to find the role of aberrant Treg/Tresp cell differentiation for maintaining Treg/Tresp cell balance and Treg functionality. METHODS:To determine differences in the differentiation of Tregs/Tresps we calculated the percentages of CD45RA+CD31+ recent thymic emigrant (RTE) Tregs/Tresps and CD45RA+CD31- mature naive (MN) Tregs/Tresps, as well as CD45RA-CD31+ and CD45RA-CD31- memory Tregs/Tresps (CD31+ and CD31- memory Tregs/Tresps) within the total Treg/Tresp pool of 78 SLE remission patients compared with 94 healthy controls of different ages. The proliferation capacity of each Treg/Tresp subset was determined by staining the cells with anti-Ki67 monoclonal antibodies. Differences in the autologous or allogeneic Treg function between SLE remission patients and healthy controls were determined using suppression assays. RESULTS:With age, we found an increased differentiation of RTE Tregs via CD31+ memory Tregs and of RTE Tresps via MN Tresps into CD31- memory Tregs/Tresp in healthy volunteers. This opposite differentiation of RTE Tregs and Tresps was associated with an age-dependent increase in the suppressive activity of both naive and memory Tregs. SLE patients showed similar age-dependent Treg cell differentiation. However, in these patients RTE Tresps differentiated increasingly via CD31+ memory Tresps, whereby CD31- memory Tresps arose that were much more difficult to inhibit for Tregs than those that emerged through differentiation via MN Tresps. Consequently, the increase in the suppressive activity of Tregs with age could not be maintained in SLE patients. Testing the Tregs of healthy volunteers and SLE patients with autologous and nonautologous Tresps revealed that the significantly decreased Treg function in SLE patients was not exclusively attributed to an age-dependent diminished sensitivity of the Tresps for Treg suppression. The immunosuppressive therapy reduced the accelerated age-dependent Tresp cell proliferation to normal levels, but simultaneously inhibited Treg cell proliferation below normal levels. CONCLUSIONS:Our data reveal that the currently used immunosuppressive therapy has a favorable effect on the differentiation and proliferation of Tresps but has a rather unfavorable effect on the proliferation of Tregs. Newer substances with more specific effects on the immune system would be desirable.
Project description:Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a highly malignant brain tumor with an average survival time of 15 months. Previously, we and others demonstrated that CD4(+)FoxP3(+) regulatory T cells (Tregs) infiltrate human GBM as well as mouse models that recapitulate malignant brain tumors. However, whether brain tumor-resident Tregs are thymus-derived natural Tregs (nTregs) or induced Tregs (iTregs), by the conversion of conventional CD4(+) T cells, has not been established. To investigate this question, we utilized the i.c. implanted GL261 cell-based orthotopic mouse model, the RasB8 transgenic astrocytoma mouse model, and a human GBM tissue microarray. We demonstrate that Tregs in brain tumors are predominantly thymus derived, since thymectomy, prior to i.c. GL261 cell implantation, significantly decreased the level of Tregs in mice with brain tumors. Accordingly, most Tregs in human GBM and mouse brain tumors expressed the nTreg transcription factor, Helios. Interestingly, a significant effect of the brain tumor microenvironment on Treg lineage programming was observed, based on higher levels of brain tumor-resident Tregs expressing glucocorticoid-induced tumor necrosis factor receptor and CD103 and lower levels of Tregs expressing CD62L and CD45RB compared with peripheral Tregs. Furthermore, there was a higher level of nTregs in brain tumors that expressed the proliferative marker Ki67 compared with iTregs and conventional CD4(+) T cells. Our study demonstrates that future Treg-depleting therapies should aim to selectively target systemic rather than intratumoral nTregs in brain tumor-specific immunotherapeutic strategies.
Project description:The immunosuppressive microenvironment is one of the major factors promoting the growth of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Infiltration of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) into the tumor microenvironment plays a significant role in the suppression of the anti-tumor immunity and portends a dismal prognosis for patients. Glioma-mediated secretion of chemo-attractant C-C motif ligand 2 and 22 (CCL2/22) has previously been shown by our group to promote Treg migration in vitro. In this study, we show that a local implantation of platelet-rich fibrin patch (PRF-P) into the brain of GL261 glioma-bearing mice prolonged the survival of affected animals by 42.85% (p?=?0.0011). Analysis performed on brain tumor tissue harvested from PRF-P-treated mice revealed a specific decrease in intra-tumoral lymphocytes with a preferential depletion of immunosuppressive Tregs. Importantly, co-culture of GL261 or chemo-attractants (CCL2/22) with PRF-P abrogated Treg migration. Pharmacological blockade of the CCL2/22 interaction with their receptors potentiated the inhibitory effect of PRF-P on Tregs recruitment in culture. Moreover, our findings revealed the soluble CD40 ligand (sCD40L) as a major Treg inhibitory player produced by activated platelets entrapped within the fibrin matrix of the PRF-P. Blockade of sCD40L restored the migratory capacity of Tregs, emphasizing the role of PRF-P in preventing the Treg migration to glioma tissue. Our findings highlight autologous PRF-P as a personalized, Treg-selective suppression platform that can potentially supplement and enhance the efficacy of glioma therapies.