IL-27 regulates immune responses in inflammation. The underlying mechanism of IL-27 functions has long been attributed to its ability to induce IL-10 production in activated CD4 T cells. In this study, we report that Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) are the main target cells of IL-27, mediating its immunoregulatory functions in vivo. Systemically delivered IL-27 efficiently prevents the development of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, an autoimmune inflammation in the CNS. However, it failed to do so upon Treg depletion. IL-27 signaling in Tregs was necessary, as transferring Tregs deficient in IL-27Rα or Lag3, a downstream molecule induced by IL-27, was unable to protect mice from experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. IL-27 efficiently induced IL-10 expression in CD4 T cells in vitro; however, we found no evidence supporting IL-27-induced IL-10 induction in CD4 T cells in vivo. Taken together, our results uncover an irreplaceable contribution of Tregs during IL-27-mediated control of inflammation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy