Author(s): Kaminitz A, Yolcu ES, Stein J, Yaniv I, Shirwan H,
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Abstract We hypothesized that regulatory T cells (Treg) effectively target diabetogenic cells, and reinforcing their killing capacity will attenuate the course of disease. For proof of concept, Fas-ligand (FasL) protein was conjugated to CD25(+) Treg (killer Treg) to simulate the physiological mechanism of activation-induced cell death. Cytotoxic and suppressive activity of killer Treg was superior to naïve Treg in vitro. Administration of 3-4 × 10(6) Treg prevented hyperglycemia in 65\% prediabetic NOD females, however only killer Treg postponed disease onset by 14 weeks. CD25(+) Treg homed to the pancreas and regional lymph nodes of prediabetic NOD females, proliferated and ectopic FasL protein induced apoptosis in CD25(-) T cells in situ. This mechanism of pathogenic cell debulking is specific to killer Treg, as FasL-coated splenocytes have no immunomodulatory effect, and only killer Treg prevent the disease in 80\% of NOD.SCID recipients of effector:suppressor T cells (10:1 ratio). All immunomodulated mice displayed increased fractional expression of FoxP3 in the pancreas and draining lymph nodes, which was accompanied by CD25 only in recipients of killer Treg. A therapeutic intervention that uses the affinity of Treg to reduce the pathogenic load has long-term consequences: arrest of destructive insulitis in mice with established disease prior to β-cell extinction. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in J Autoimmun
and referenced in Rheumatology: Current Research