Autoreactive CD4+ T cells exist in normal individuals and retain the capacity to initiate autoimmune disease. The current study investigates the role of CD4+CD25+ T-regulatory (TR) cells during autoimmune disease using the CD4+ T cell-dependent myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)-specific experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis model of multiple sclerosis. In vitro, TR cells effectively inhibited both the proliferation of and cytokine production by MOG35-55-specific Th1 cells. In vivo, adoptive transfer of TR cells conferred significant protection from clinical experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis which was associated with normal activation of autoreactive Th1 cells, but an increased frequency of MOG35-55-specific Th2 cells and decreased CNS infiltration. Lastly, transferred TR cells displayed an enhanced ability to traffic to the peripheral lymph nodes and expressed increased levels of the adhesion molecules ICAM-1 and P-selectin that may promote functional interactions with target T cells. Collectively, these findings suggest that TR cells contribute notably to the endogenous mechanisms that regulate actively induced autoimmune disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy