The Migratory Properties and Numbers of T Regulatory Cell Subsets in Circulation Are Differentially Influenced by Season and Are Associated With Vitamin D Status.
ABSTRACT: The control of peripheral immune responses by FOXP3+ T regulatory (Treg) cells is essential for immune tolerance. However, at any given time, Treg frequencies in whole blood can vary more than fivefold between individuals. An understanding of factors that influence Treg numbers and migration within and between individuals would be a powerful tool for cellular therapies that utilize the immunomodulatory properties of Tregs to control pathology associated with inflammation. We sought to understand how season could influence Treg numbers and phenotype by monitoring the proportion of natural thymus-derived Tregs (nTregs) defined as (CD3+CD4+CD25+FOXP3+CD127-/low ) cells as a proportion of CD4+ T cells and compared these to all FOXP3+ Tregs (allTregs, CD3+CD25+FOXP3+CD127-/low ). We were able to determine changes within individuals during 1 year suggesting an influence of season on nTreg frequencies. We found that, between individuals at any given time, nTreg/CD4+ T cells ranged from 1.8% in February to 8.8% in the summer where median nTreg/CD4 in January and February was 2.4% (range 3.75-1.76) and in July and August was 4.5% (range 8.81-3.17) p = 0.025. Importantly we were able to monitor individual nTreg frequencies throughout the year in donors that started the year with high or low nTregs. Some nTreg variation could be attributed to vitamin D status where normal linear regression estimated that an absolute increase in nTreg/CD4+ by 0.11% could be expected with 10 nmol increase in serum 25 (OH) vitamin D3 (p = 0.005, 95% CI: 0.03-0.19). We assessed migration markers on Tregs for the skin and/or gut. Here cutaneous lymphocyte associated antigen (CLA+) expression on CD25+FOXP3+CD4+/CD4+ was compared with the same population expressing the gut associated integrin, ?7. Gut tropic CD25+FOXP3+?7+Tregs/CD4+ had similar dynamics to nTreg/CD4+. Conversely, CD25+FOXP3+CLA+Tregs/CD4+ showed no association with vitamin D status. Important for cellular therapies requiring isolation of Tregs, the absolute number of ?7+CD4+CD25+FOXP3+Tregs was positively associated with 25(OH)vitamin D3 (R 2 = 0.0208, r = 0.184, p = 0.021) whereas the absolute numbers of CLA+CD4+CD25+FOXP3+Tregs in the periphery were not influenced by vitamin D status. These baseline observations provide new opportunities to utilize seasonal variables that influence Treg numbers and their migratory potential in patients or donors.
Project description:Naturally occurring CD4(+)CD25(hi)Foxp3(+) Tregs (nTregs) are highly proliferative in blood. However, the kinetics of their accumulation and proliferation during a localized antigen-specific T cell response is currently unknown. To explore this, we used a human experimental system whereby tuberculin purified protein derivative (PPD) was injected into the skin and the local T cell response analyzed over time. The numbers of both CD4(+)Foxp3(-) (memory) and CD4(+)Foxp3(+) (putative nTreg) T cells increased in parallel, with the 2 populations proliferating at the same relative rate. In contrast to CD4(+)Foxp3(-) T cell populations, skin CD4(+)Foxp3(+) T cells expressed typical Treg markers (i.e., they were CD25(hi), CD127(lo), CD27(+), and CD39(+)) and did not synthesize IL-2 or IFN-gamma after restimulation in vitro, indicating that they were not recently activated effector cells. To determine whether CD4(+)Foxp3(+) T cells in skin could be induced from memory CD4(+) T cells, we expanded skin-derived memory CD4(+) T cells in vitro and anergized them. These cells expressed high levels of CD25 and Foxp3 and suppressed the proliferation of skin-derived responder T cells to PPD challenge. Our data therefore demonstrate that memory and CD4(+) Treg populations are regulated in tandem during a secondary antigenic response. Furthermore, it is possible to isolate effector CD4(+) T cell populations from inflamed tissues and manipulate them to generate Tregs with the potential to suppress inflammatory responses.
Project description:Background: Treg cells represent important viral reservoirs during chronic HIV infection. CD39 is closely involved in Treg-mediated immunosuppressive effects. However, CD39 expression on nTregs and mTregs and a relationship with HIV DNA levels during HIV infection is still unclear. In this study, we analyzed the distribution of HIV DNA in Treg subsets and the association between HIV DNA and CD39 expression on Treg subsets. Methods: Sixty-two HIV-infected patients with different HIV stages and 14 uninfected individuals were enrolled. nTregs (CD4+CD25+CD127lowCD45RO-) and mTregs (CD4+CD25+CD127lowCD45RO+) were isolated by magnetic selection and flow cytometric sorting. HIV DNA was quantified by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). CD39 expression on nTregs and mTregs was analyzed by flow cytometry. Results: Higher levels of HIV DNA were detected in mTregs than those in nTregs during chronic HIV infection. The frequency of CD39+ nTregs and HIV DNA levels in nTregs were increased in patients with advanced HIV infection. Furthermore, HIV DNA levels in nTregs correlated positively with CD39+ nTreg frequency. CD39+ nTreg frequency was also increased in immune non-responders. Conclusions: mTregs and nTregs are both important reservoirs of virus during chronic HIV infection and HIV DNA levels increase in nTregs in patients with advanced HIV infection. We observed increased frequency of CD39+ nTregs and HIV DNA levels in nTregs in patients with advanced HIV infection. HIV DNA levels in nTregs correlated positively with CD39+ nTreg frequency.
Project description:Regulatory T cells (Tregs) suppress immune responses in vivo in an antigen-specific manner. Of clinical relevance, Tregs can be isolated and expanded in vitro while maintaining immunoregulatory function. Tregs are classified as CD4+CD25highCD127low FOXP3+ cells. Demethylation of the Treg-specific demethylation region (TSDR) of FOXP3 is found in natural Tregs (nTregs). We report a method for the characterization of the differential methylation pattern of the FOXP3 TSDR in patient-derived and expanded nTregs. Human TSDR sequences from nTregs (unmethylated sequence) and pancreatic (methylated sequence) cells were amplified and cloned into plasmids. A droplet digital TaqMan probe-based qPCR (ddPCR) assay using methylation-specific primers and probes was employed to quantify unmethylated and methylated sequences. The methylation-specific droplet digital PCR (ddMSP) assay was specific and selective for unmethylated DNA in mixtures with methylated DNA in the range of 5000 copies/?L to less than 1 copy/?L (R 2 = 0.99) even in the presence of non-selective gDNAs. CD4+CD25highCD127lowFOXP3+ human nTregs, in the presence of Dynabeads or activators, were expanded for 21 days. There was a decrease in the unmethylated ratio of Tregs after expansion with essentially the same ratio at days 10, 14, and 17. However, the activator expanded group showed a significant decrease in unmethylated targets at day 21. The suppression activity of activator-expanded nTregs at day 21 was decreased compared to cells expanded with Dynabeads. These data suggest that the ddMSP can quantitatively monitor nTreg expansion in vitro. These data also indicate that the assay is sensitive and specific at differentiating nTregs from other cells and may be useful for rapid screening of nTregs in clinical protocols.
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:One of the hallmark features of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common adult primary brain tumor with a very dismal prognosis, is the accumulation of CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells (Tregs). Regulatory T cells (Tregs) segregate into two primary categories: thymus-derived natural Tregs (nTregs) that develop from the interaction between immature T cells and thymic epithelial stromal cells, and inducible Tregs (iTregs) that arise from the conversion of CD4(+)FoxP3(-) T cells into FoxP3 expressing cells. Normally, these Treg subsets complement one another's actions by maintaining tolerance of self-antigens, thereby suppressing autoimmunity, while also enabling effective immune responses toward non-self-antigens, thus promoting infectious protection. However, Tregs have also been shown to be associated with the promotion of pathological outcomes, including cancer. In the setting of GBM, nTregs appear to be primary players that contribute to immunotherapeutic failure, ultimately leading to tumor progression. Several attempts have been made to therapeutically target these cells with variable levels of success. The blood brain barrier-crossing chemotherapeutics, temozolomide, and cyclophosphamide (CTX), vaccination against the Treg transcriptional regulator, FoxP3, as well as mAbs against Treg-associated cell surface molecules CD25, CTLA-4, and GITR are all different therapeutic approaches under investigation. Contributing to the poor success of past approaches is the expression of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO), a tryptophan catabolizing enzyme overexpressed in GBM, and critically involved in regulating tumor-infiltrating Treg levels. Herein, we review the current literature on Tregs in brain cancer, providing a detailed phenotype, causative mechanisms involved in their pathogenesis, and strategies that have been used to target this population, therapeutically.
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:Complications arising from abnormal immune responses are the major causes of mortality and morbidity in diabetic patients. CD4+CD25+T regulatory cells (Tregs) play pivotal roles in controlling immune homeostasis, immunity and tolerance. The effect of hyperglycemia on CD4+CD25+Tregs has not yet been addressed. Here we used streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic mice to study the effects of long-term hyperglycemia on CD4+CD25+Tregs in vivo. Four months after the onset of diabetes, the frequency of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ T regulatory cells was significantly elevated in the spleen, peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs), peripheral lymph nodes (pLNs) and mesenteric LNs (mLNs). CD4+CD25+Tregs obtained from mice with diabetes displayed defective immunosuppressive functions and an activated/memory phenotype. Insulin administration rescued these changes in the CD4+CD25+ Tregs of diabetic mice. The percentage of thymic CD4+CD25+ naturally occurring Tregs (nTregs) and peripheral CD4+Helios+Foxp3+ nTregs were markedly enhanced in diabetic mice, indicating that thymic output contributed to the increased frequency of peripheral CD4+CD25+Tregs in diabetic mice. In an in vitro assay in which Tregs were induced from CD4+CD25- T cells by transforming growth factor (TGF)-?, high glucose enhanced the efficiency of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ inducible Tregs (iTregs) induction. In addition, CD4+CD25- T cells from diabetic mice were more susceptible to CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ iTreg differentiation than those cells from control mice. These data, together with the enhanced frequency of CD4+Helios-Foxp3+ iTregs in the periphery of mice with diabetes, indicate that enhanced CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ iTreg induction also contributes to a peripheral increase iCD4+CD25+Tregs in diabetic mice. Our data show that hyperglycemia may alter the frequency of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ Tregs in mice, which may result in late-state immune dysfunction in patients with diabetes.
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.
Project description:NO is a free radical with pleiotropic functions. We have shown earlier that NO induces a population of CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(-) regulatory T cells (NO-Tregs) that suppress the functions of CD4(+)CD25(-) effector T cells in vitro and in vivo. We report in this study an unexpected finding that NO-Tregs suppressed Th17 but not Th1 cell differentiation and function. In contrast, natural Tregs (nTregs), which suppressed Th1 cells, failed to suppress Th17 cells. Consistent with this observation, NO-Tregs inhibited the expression of retinoic acid-related orphan receptor ?t but not T-bet, whereas nTregs suppressed T-bet but not retinoic acid-related orphan receptor ?t expression. The NO-Treg-mediated suppression of Th17 was partially cell contact-dependent and was associated with IL-10. In vivo, adoptively transferred NO-Tregs potently attenuated experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. The disease suppression was accompanied by a reduction of Th17, but not Th1 cells in the draining lymph nodes, and a decrease in the production of IL-17, but an increase in IL-10 synthesis. Our results therefore demonstrate the differential suppressive function between NO-Tregs and nTregs and indicate specialization of the regulatory mechanism of the immune system.
Project description:BACKGROUND: In humans and mice naturally occurring CD4(+)CD25(+) regulatory T cells (nTregs) are a thymus-derived subset of T cells, crucial for the maintenance of peripheral tolerance by controlling not only potentially autoreactive T cells but virtually all cells of the adaptive and innate immune system. Recent work using Dicer-deficient mice irrevocably demonstrated the importance of miRNAs for nTreg cell-mediated tolerance. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: DNA-Microarray analyses of human as well as murine conventional CD4(+) Th cells and nTregs revealed a strong up-regulation of mature miR-155 (microRNA-155) upon activation in both populations. Studying miR-155 expression in FoxP3-deficient scurfy mice and performing FoxP3 ChIP-Seq experiments using activated human T lymphocytes, we show that the expression and maturation of miR-155 seem to be not necessarily regulated by FoxP3. In order to address the functional relevance of elevated miR-155 levels, we transfected miR-155 inhibitors or mature miR-155 RNAs into freshly-isolated human and mouse primary CD4(+) Th cells and nTregs and investigated the resulting phenotype in nTreg suppression assays. Whereas miR-155 inhibition in conventional CD4(+) Th cells strengthened nTreg cell-mediated suppression, overexpression of mature miR-155 rendered these cells unresponsive to nTreg cell-mediated suppression. CONCLUSION: Investigation of FoxP3 downstream targets, certainly of bound and regulated miRNAs revealed the associated function between the master regulator FoxP3 and miRNAs as regulators itself. miR-155 is shown to be crucially involved in nTreg cell mediated tolerance by regulating the susceptibility of conventional human as well as murine CD4(+) Th cells to nTreg cell-mediated suppression.