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  • Regulatory T cells reinforce intestinal homeostasis.

    3 July 2018

    Regulatory T cells help maintain intestinal homeostasis by preventing inappropriate innate and adaptive immune responses. CD4(+) T cells that express Foxp3 and Tr1-like cells that produce IL-10 comprise the major regulatory populations in the intestine. CD4(+)Foxp3(+) T cells play an important functional role in promoting tolerance of the flora and dietary proteins. Tr1-like cells can be generated in conditions that also promote effector T cell responses and may serve a similar function. In this review, we discuss the signals specific to the gastrointestinal tract that support both regulatory cell types and their distinct modes of action in the mesenteric lymph nodes and intestinal tissues. Dysregulation of intestinal immune homeostasis occurs in inflammatory bowel disease and can also be observed in graft-versus-host disease, tumor immunotherapy regimens, and acute HIV infection.

  • Essential role for CD103 in the T cell-mediated regulation of experimental colitis.

    3 July 2018

    The integrin CD103 is highly expressed at mucosal sites, but its role in mucosal immune regulation remains poorly understood. We have analyzed the functional role of CD103 in intestinal immune regulation using the T cell transfer model of colitis. Our results show no mandatory role for CD103 expression on T cells for either the development or CD4+CD25+ regulatory T (T reg) cell-mediated control of colitis. However, wild-type CD4+CD25+ T cells were unable to prevent colitis in immune-deficient recipients lacking CD103, demonstrating a nonredundant functional role for CD103 on host cells in T reg cell-mediated intestinal immune regulation. Non-T cell expression of CD103 is restricted primarily to CD11c(high)MHC class II(high) dendritic cells (DCs). This DC population is present at a high frequency in the gut-associated lymphoid tissue and appears to mediate a distinct functional role. Thus, CD103+ DCs, but not their CD103- counterparts, promoted expression of the gut-homing receptor CCR9 on T cells. Conversely, CD103- DCs promoted the differentiation of IFN-gamma-producing T cells. Collectively, these data suggest that CD103+ and CD103- DCs represent functionally distinct subsets and that CD103 expression on DCs influences the balance between effector and regulatory T cell activity in the intestine.

  • Cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 plays an essential role in the function of CD25(+)CD4(+) regulatory cells that control intestinal inflammation.

    3 July 2018

    It is now clear that functionally specialized regulatory T (Treg) cells exist as part of the normal immune repertoire, preventing the development of pathogenic responses to both self- and intestinal antigens. Here, we report that the Treg cells that control intestinal inflammation express the same phenotype (CD25(+)CD45RB(low)CD4(+)) as those that control autoimmunity. Previous studies have failed to identify how CD25(+) Treg cells function in vivo. Our studies reveal that the immune-suppressive function of these cells in vivo is dependent on signaling via the negative regulator of T cell activation cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4), as well as secretion of the immune-suppressive cytokine transforming growth factor beta. Strikingly, constitutive expression of CTLA-4 among CD4(+) cells was restricted primarily to Treg cells, suggesting that CTLA-4 expression by these cells is involved in their immune-suppressive function. These findings raise the possibility that Treg cell function contributes to the immune suppression characteristic of CTLA-4 signaling. Identification of costimulatory molecules involved in the function of Treg cells may facilitate further characterization of these cells and development of new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of inflammatory diseases.

  • Intestinal homeostasis and its breakdown in inflammatory bowel disease.

    3 July 2018

    Intestinal homeostasis depends on complex interactions between the microbiota, the intestinal epithelium and the host immune system. Diverse regulatory mechanisms cooperate to maintain intestinal homeostasis, and a breakdown in these pathways may precipitate the chronic inflammatory pathology found in inflammatory bowel disease. It is now evident that immune effector modules that drive intestinal inflammation are conserved across innate and adaptive leukocytes and can be controlled by host regulatory cells. Recent evidence suggests that several factors may tip the balance between homeostasis and intestinal inflammation, presenting future challenges for the development of new therapies for inflammatory bowel disease.

  • Raf signaling but not the ERK effector SAP-1 is required for regulatory T cell development.

    3 July 2018

    Regulatory T cells (T(reg)) play an important role in immune regulation. Their development in the thymus requires TCR activation and recognition of peptide-MHC, although the downstream signals controlling commitment to the lineage are unclear. To compare the requirements for positive selection and T(reg) development, we studied knockout and transgenic mice defective in Raf signaling and the ERK effector SRF accessory protein 1 (SAP-1), a member of the ternary complex factor family of Ets domain transcription factors. Although SAP-1 deficient mice display a severe defect in thymocyte positive selection, T(reg) development was unimpaired as assessed by expression of Foxp3 and the activation markers CD25, GITR, CTLA4, and CD103 in the CD4(+) cell population. In contrast, inhibition of Raf signaling by the interfering dominant negative Raf derivative reduced both Foxp3(+) and Foxp3(-) CD4(+) populations. In SAP-1-deficient CD4(+)CD25(+) T(reg) cells, TCR crosslinking efficiently induced ERK activation, but transcriptional induction of the immediate early gene Egr-1 was impaired. Nevertheless, neither deletion of SAP-1 nor expression of a dominant negative Raf derivative affected the ability of CD4(+)CD25(+) T(reg) cells to suppress CD4(+)CD25(-) cell proliferation in vitro. Finally the suppressive activity of CD4(+)CD25(+) T(reg) cells lacking SAP-1 in an in vivo colitis model was not significantly impaired. The signaling requirements for development of T(reg) cells in the thymus are thus distinct from those required for "conventional" T cell positive selection, and ERK signaling to SAP-1 is not required for the suppressive activity of T(reg) cells.

  • Colitogenic Th1 cells are present in the antigen-experienced T cell pool in normal mice: control by CD4+ regulatory T cells and IL-10.

    3 July 2018

    CD4(+) regulatory T cells have been shown to prevent intestinal inflammation; however, it is not known whether they act to prevent the priming of colitogenic T cells or actively control these cells as part of the memory T cell pool. In this study, we describe the presence of colitogenic Th1 cells within the CD4(+)CD45RB(low) population. These pathogenic cells enrich within the CD25(-) subset and are not recent thymic emigrants. CD4(+)CD45RB(low) cells from germfree mice were significantly reduced in their ability to transfer colitis to immune deficient recipients, suggesting the presence of commensal bacteria in the donor mice drives colitogenic T cells into the Ag-experienced/memory T cell pool. This potentially pathogenic population of Ag-experienced T cells is subject to T cell-mediated regulation in vivo by both CD4(+)CD25(+) and CD4(+)CD25(-) cells in an IL-10-dependent manner. Furthermore, administration of an anti-IL-10R mAb to unmanipulated adult mice was sufficient to induce the development of colitis. Taken together, these data indicate that colitogenic Th1 cells enter into the Ag-experienced pool in normal mice, but that their function is controlled by regulatory T cells and IL-10. Interestingly, IL-10 was not absolutely required for CD4(+)CD25(+) T cell-mediated inhibition of colitis induced by transfer of naive CD4(+)CD45RB(high) cells, suggesting a differential requirement for IL-10 in the regulation of naive and Ag-experienced T cells.

  • Cutting edge: cure of colitis by CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells.

    3 July 2018

    CD4(+)CD25(+) regulatory T cells have been shown to prevent T cell-mediated immune pathology; however, their ability to ameliorate established inflammation has not been tested. Using the CD4(+)CD45RB(high) T cell transfer model of inflammatory bowel disease, we show that CD4(+)CD25(+) but not CD4(+)CD25(-)CD45RB(low) T cells are able to cure intestinal inflammation. Transfer of CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells into mice with colitis led to resolution of the lamina propria infiltrate in the intestine and reappearance of normal intestinal architecture. CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells were found to proliferate in the mesenteric lymph nodes and inflamed colon. They were located between clusters of CD11c(+) cells and pathogenic T cells and found to be in contact with both cell types. These studies suggest that manipulation of CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells may be beneficial in the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases.