The glucocorticoid-induced TNFR (GITR) is expressed at high levels on resting CD4+ CD25+ T regulatory (TR) cells and regulates their suppressive phenotype. Accordingly, we show that anti-GITR mAb treatment of SJL mice with proteolipid protein 139-151-induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis significantly exacerbated clinical disease severity and CNS inflammation, and induced elevated levels of Ag-specific T cell proliferation and cytokine production. Interestingly, prior depletion of TR cells failed to result in exacerbated experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis suggesting alternative targets for the anti-GITR mAb treatment. Importantly, naive CD4+ CD25- T cells up-regulated GITR expression in an activation-dependent manner and anti-GITR mAb treatment enhanced the level of CD4+ T cell activation, proliferation, and cytokine production in the absence of TR cells both in vivo and in vitro. Taken together, these findings suggest a dual functional role for GITR as GITR cross-linking both inactivates TR cells and increases CD4+ CD25- T cell effector function, thus enhancing T cell immunity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy