Comparative analysis of FoxP3(+) regulatory T cells in the target tissues and blood in chronic graft versus host disease.
ABSTRACT: Activation and migration of regulatory T cells (Treg) into tissue is critical in control of inflammation, but has not been examined extensively in chronic graft versus host disease (cGVHD). In parallel studies of tissues and blood, we determined that FoxP3(+) T cells increased in proportion to T effectors (Teff) in tissue infiltrates in oral and cutaneous lichenoid cGVHD. These FoxP3(+) cells expressed distinguishing phenotypic and functional markers of Treg (CD3(+), CD4(+), CD27(+), ICOS(+) and CD39(+)), not found on FoxP3(-) Teff. Both Teff and FoxP3(+) Treg expressed T-bet and the chemokine receptor CXCR3, however, consistent with a common mechanism of chemokine-mediated migration into tissue. Furthermore, functional markers (ICOS and CD39) and chemokine receptors (CXCR3) were both present in a higher proportion of FoxP3(+) cells in tissues than in peripheral blood, consistent with recruitment and activation of Treg in cGVHD target tissues. Finally, the 'activated' CD45RA(-)FoxP3(hi) subset of Treg cells, which highly express functional markers, were found in comparable frequencies in cGVHD patients and normal controls, despite a significant deficit in naive 'resting' Treg. These findings are consistent with Treg capacity to upregulate functional markers and traffick into tissue in cGVHD.
Project description:Type 1 diabetes (T1D) occurs through a breakdown of self-tolerance resulting in the autoimmune destruction of the insulin producing ?-islets of the pancreas. A numerical and functional waning of CD4+ Foxp3+ regulatory T (Treg) cells, prompted by a pancreatic IL-2 deficiency, accompanies Th1 autoimmunity and T1D progression in non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice. Recently, we identified a dominant subset of intra-islet Treg cells that expresses the ICOS costimulatory receptor and promotes self-tolerance delaying the onset of T1D. ICOS co-stimulation potently enhances IL-2 induced survival and proliferation, and suppressive activity of Treg cells in situ. Here, we propose an ICOS-dependent mechanism of Treg cell homing to the ?-islets during pre-diabetes in the NOD model via upregulation of the CXCR3 chemokine receptor. The islet-specific ICOS+ Treg cell subset preferentially expresses CXCR3 in the pancreatic lymph nodes (pLN) in response to Teff cell-mediated pancreatic inflammation, an expression correlating with the onset and magnitude of IFN-? production by Teff cells in pancreatic sites. We also reveal that intra-pancreatic APC populations and insulin-producing ?, but not ? nor ?, islet cells secrete the CXCR3 chemokines, CXCL9, 10 and 11, and selectively promote ICOS+ CXCR3+ Treg cell chemotaxis in vitro. Strikingly, islet-derived Treg cells also produce these chemokines suggesting an auto-regulation of homing by this subset. Unlike ICOS- cells, ICOS+ Treg cells adopt a Th1-like Treg phenotype while maintaining their suppressive capacity, characterized by expression of T-bet and CXCR3 and production of IFN-? in the draining pLNs. Finally, in vivo neutralization of IFN-? blocked Treg cell CXCR3 upregulation evincing its role in regulating expression of this chemokine receptor by Treg cells. Thus, CXCR3-mediated trafficking of Treg cells could represent a mechanism of homeostatic immunoregulation during diabetogeneesis.
Project description:Increasing knowledge of the function and regulation of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes has led to new insights in cancer immunotherapy. Regulatory T cells (Treg) accumulate in colon tumors, and we recently showed that CD39+ Treg from cancer patients inhibit transendothelial migration of conventional T cells. CD39 mediates the hydrolysis of ATP to immunosuppressive adenosine and adds to the immunosuppressive effects of Treg. Here, we further investigated the regulatory features of intratumoral CD39+ Treg in colon cancer. Using flow cytometry analyses of cells from 46 colon cancer patients, we confirm the accumulation of CD39+ Treg in the tumor tissue compared to unaffected colon tissue, and also show that tumor-infiltrating Treg express more CD39 and Foxp3 on a per cell basis. Furthermore, CD39+ Treg in tumors express markers indicating increased turnover and suppressive ability. In particular, tumor-infiltrating CD39+ Treg have high expression of surface molecules related to immunosuppression, such as ICOS, PD-L1 and CTLA-4. Functional suppression assays also indicate potent suppressive capacity of CD39+ Treg on proliferation and IFN-? secretion by conventional T cells. In conclusion, our results identify tumor-infiltrating CD39+ Treg as a numerous and potentially important immunosuppressive subset, and suggest that immunotherapy aimed at reducing the activity of CD39+ Treg may be particularly useful in the setting of colon cancer.
Project description:Lung transplantation remains the only effective therapy for patients with end-stage pulmonary diseases. Unfortunately, acute rejection of the lung remains a frequent complication and is an important cause of morbidity and mortality. The induction of transplant tolerance is thought to be dependent, in part, on the balance between allograft effector mechanisms mediated by effector T lymphocytes (Teff), and regulatory mechanisms mediated by FOXP3(+) regulatory T cells (Treg). In this study, we explored an approach to tip the balance in favor of regulatory mechanisms by modulating chemokine activity. We demonstrate in an adoptive transfer model of lung rejection that CXCR3-deficient CD8(+) Teff have impaired migration into the lungs compared with wild-type Teff, which results in a dramatic reduction in fatal pulmonary inflammation. The lungs of surviving mice contained tolerized CXCR3-deficient Teff, as well as a large increase in Treg. We confirmed that Treg were needed for tolerance and that their ability to induce tolerance was dependent on their numbers in the lung relative to the numbers of Teff. These data suggest that transplantation tolerance can be achieved by reducing the recruitment of some, but not necessarily all, CD8(+) Teff into the target organ and suggest a novel approach to achieve transplant tolerance.
Project description:The incidence of chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) is on the rise and still the major cause of morbidity and mortality among patients after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT). Both donor T and B cells contribute to the pathogenesis of cGVHD. Inducible T-cell co-stimulator (ICOS), a potent co-stimulatory receptor, plays a key role in T-cell activation and differentiation. Yet, how ICOS regulates the development of cGVHD is not well understood. Here, we investigated the role of ICOS in cGVHD pathogenesis using mice with germline or regulatory T cell (Treg)-specific ICOS deficiency. The recipients of ICOS<sup>-/-</sup> donor grafts had reduced cGVHD compared with wild-type controls. In recipients of ICOS<sup>-/-</sup> donor grafts, we observed significant reductions in donor T follicular helper (Tfh), Th17, germinal center B-cell, and plasma cell differentiation, coupled with lower antibody production. Interestingly, Tregs, including follicular regulatory T (Tfr) cells, were also impaired in the absence of ICOS. Using ICOS conditional knockout specific for Foxp3<sup>+</sup> cells, we found that ICOS was indispensable for optimal survival and homeostasis of induced Tregs during cGVHD. Furthermore, administration of anti-ICOS alleviated cGVHD severity <i>via</i> suppressing T effector cells without affecting Treg generation. Taken together, ICOS promotes T- and B-cell activation and differentiation, which can promote cGVHD development; however, ICOS is critical for the survival and homeostasis of iTregs, which can suppress cGVHD. Hence, ICOS balances the development of cGVHD and could offer a potential target after allo-HCT in the clinic.
Project description:<h4>Background and purpose</h4>Regulatory T cells (Tregs) have been suggested to modulate stroke-induced immune responses. However, analyses of Tregs in patients and in experimental stroke have yielded contradictory findings. We performed the current study to assess the regulation and function of Tregs in peripheral blood of stroke patients. Age dependent expression of CD39 on Tregs was quantified in mice and men.<h4>Methods</h4>Total FoxP3(+) Tregs and CD39(+)FoxP3(+) Tregs were quantified by flow cytometry in controls and stroke patients on admission and on days 1, 3, 5, and 7 thereafter. Treg function was assessed by quantifying the inhibition of activation-induced expression of CD69 and CD154 on T effector cells (Teffs).<h4>Results</h4>Total Tregs accounted for 5.0% of CD4(+) T cells in controls and <2.8% in stroke patients on admission. They remained below control values until day 7. CD39(+) Tregs were most strongly reduced in stroke patients. On day 3 the Treg-mediated inhibition of CD154 upregulation on CD4(+) Teff was impaired in stroke patients. CD39 expression on Treg increased with age in peripheral blood of mice and men.<h4>Conclusion</h4>We demonstrate a loss of active FoxP3(+)CD39(+) Tregs from stroke patient's peripheral blood. The suppressive Treg function of remaining Tregs is impaired after stroke.
Project description:Chemokines and chemokine receptors are implicated in regulatory T cell (Treg) trafficking to sites of inflammation and suppression of excessive immune responses in inflammatory and autoimmune diseases; however, the specific requirements for Treg migration into the inflamed organs and the positioning of these cells within the tissue are incompletely understood. Here, we report that Tregs expressing the TH1-associated chemokine receptor CXCR3 are enriched in the kidneys of patients with ANCA-associated crescentic GN and colocalize with CXCR3(+) effector T cells. To investigate the functional role of CXCR3(+) Tregs, we generated mice that lack CXCR3 in Tregs specifically (Foxp3(eGFP-Cre) × Cxcr3(fl/fl)) and induced experimental crescentic GN. Treg-specific deletion of CXCR3 resulted in reduced Treg recruitment to the kidney and an overwhelming TH1 immune response, with an aggravated course of the nephritis that was reversible on anti-IFNγ treatment. Together, these findings show that a subset of Tregs expresses CXCR3 and thereby, acquires trafficking properties of pathogenic CXCR3(+) TH1 cells, allowing Treg localization and control of excessive TH1 responses at sites of inflammation.
Project description:High-dose (HD) IL-2 therapy in patients with cancer increases the general population of Tregs, which are positive for CD4, CD25, and the Treg-specific marker Foxp3. It is unknown whether specific subsets of Tregs are activated and expanded during HD IL-2 therapy or whether activation of any particular Treg subset correlates with clinical outcome. Here, we evaluated Treg population subsets that were induced in patients with melanoma following HD IL-2 therapy. We identified a Treg population that was positive for CD4, CD25, Foxp3, and the inducible T cell costimulator (ICOS). This Treg population increased more than any other lymphocyte subset during HD IL-2 therapy and had an activated Treg phenotype, as indicated by high levels of CD39, CD73, and TGF-?. ICOS(+) Tregs were the most proliferative lymphocyte population in the blood after IL-2 therapy. Patients with melanoma with enhanced expansion of ICOS(+) Tregs in blood following the first cycle of HD IL-2 therapy had worse clinical outcomes than patients with fewer ICOS(+) Tregs. However, there was no difference in total Treg expansion between HD IL-2 responders and nonresponders. These data suggest that increased expansion of the ICOS(+) Treg population following the first cycle of HD IL-2 therapy may be predictive of clinical outcome.
Project description:Localization of CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) regulatory T (Treg) cells to lymphoid and non-lymphoid tissue is instrumental for the effective control of immune responses. Compared with conventional T cells, Treg cells constitute a minute fraction of the T-cell repertoire. Despite this numeric disadvantage, Tregs efficiently migrate to sites of immune responses reaching an optimal number for the regulation of T effector (Teff) cells. The array and levels of adhesion and chemokine receptor expression by Tregs do not explain their powerful migratory capacity. Here we show that recognition of self-antigens expressed by endothelial cells in target tissue is instrumental for efficient Treg recruitment in vivo. This event relies upon IFN-?-mediated induction of MHC-class-II molecule expression by the endothelium and requires optimal PI3K p110? activation by the T-cell receptor. We also show that, once in the tissue, Tregs inhibit Teff recruitment, further enabling a Teff:Treg ratio optimal for regulation.
Project description:The frequency of CD4(+) Foxp3(+) regulatory T (Treg) cells is often significantly increased in the blood of tumour-bearing mice and people with cancer. Moreover, Treg cell frequencies are often higher in tumours compared with blood and lymphoid organs. We wished to determine whether certain chemokines expressed within the tumour mass selectively recruit Treg cells, thereby contributing to their enrichment within the tumour-infiltrating lymphocyte pool. To achieve this goal, the chemokine profile of carcinogen-induced fibrosarcomas was determined, and the chemokine receptor expression profiles of both CD4(+) Foxp3(-) and CD4(+) Foxp3(+) T cells were compared. These analyses revealed that the tumours are characterized by expression of inflammatory chemokines (CCL2, CCL5, CCL7, CCL8, CCL12, CXCL9, CXCL10 and CX3CL1), reflected by an enrichment of activated Foxp3(-) and Foxp3(+) T cells expressing T helper type 1-associated chemokine receptors. Notably, we found that CXCR3(+) T cells were significantly enriched in the tumours although curiously we found no evidence that CXCR3 was required for their recruitment. Instead, CXCR3 marks a population of activated Foxp3(-) and Foxp3(+) T cells, which use multiple and overlapping ligand receptor pairs to guide their migration to tumours. Collectively, these data indicate that enrichment of Foxp3(+) cells in tumours characterized by expression of inflammatory chemokines, does not occur via a distinct chemokine axis, thus selective chemokine blockade is unlikely to represent a meaningful therapeutic strategy for preventing Treg cell accumulation in tumours.
Project description:Foxp3(+) regulatory T (Treg) cells are key immune regulators during helminth infections, and identifying the mechanisms governing their induction is of principal importance for the design of treatments for helminth infections, allergies and autoimmunity. Little is yet known regarding the co-stimulatory environment that favours the development of Foxp3(+) Treg-cell responses during helminth infections. As recent evidence implicates the co-stimulatory receptor ICOS in defining Foxp3(+) Treg-cell functions, we investigated the role of ICOS in helminth-induced Foxp3(+) Treg-cell responses. Infection of ICOS(-/-) mice with Heligmosomoides polygyrus or Schistosoma mansoni led to a reduced expansion and maintenance of Foxp3(+) Treg cells. Moreover, during H. polygyrus infection, ICOS deficiency resulted in increased Foxp3(+) Treg-cell apoptosis, a Foxp3(+) Treg-cell specific impairment in IL-10 production, and a failure to mount putatively adaptive Helios(-) Foxp3(+) Treg-cell responses within the intestinal lamina propria. Impaired lamina propria Foxp3(+) Treg-cell responses were associated with increased production of IL-4 and IL-13 by CD4(+) T cells, demonstrating that ICOS dominantly downregulates Type 2 responses at the infection site, sharply contrasting with its Type 2-promoting effects within lymphoid tissue. Thus, ICOS regulates Type 2 immunity in a tissue-specific manner, and plays a key role in driving Foxp3(+) Treg-cell expansion and function during helminth infections.