Common gamma chain cytokines promote rapid in vitro expansion of allo-specific human CD8 + suppressor T cells

Yuming Yu, Jennifer R. Zitzner, Josetta Houlihan, Nancy Herrera, Luting Xu, Joshua Miller, James M. Mathew, Anat R. Tambur, Xunrong Luo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Human CD8 + regulatory T cells, particularly the CD8 +CD28 - T suppressor cells, have emerged as an important modulator of alloimmunity. Understanding the conditions under which these cells are induced and/or expanded would greatly facilitate their application in future clinical trials. In the current study, we develop a novel strategy that combines common gamma chain (γc) cytokines IL-2, IL-7 and IL-15 and donor antigen presenting cells (APCs) to stimulate full HLA-mismatched allogeneic human CD8 + T cells which results in significant expansions of donor-specific CD8 +CD28 - T suppressor cells in vitro. The expanded CD8 +CD28 - T cells exhibit increased expressions of CTLA-4, FoxP3, and CD25, while down-regulate expressions of CD56, CD57, CD127, and perforin. Furthermore, these cells suppress proliferation of CD4 + T cells in a contact-dependent and cytokine-independent manner. Interestingly, the specificity of suppression is restricted by the donor HLA class I antigens but promiscuous to HLA class II antigens, providing a potential mechanism for linked suppression. Taken together, our results demonstrate a novel role for common γc cytokines in combination with donor APCs in the expansion of donor-specific CD8 +CD28 - T suppressor cells, and represent a robust strategy for in vitro generation of such cells for adoptive cellular immunotherapy in transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere28948
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 14 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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