Author(s): Peng Y, Laouar Y, Li MO, Green EA, Flavell RA
Abstract Share this page
Abstract CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells are essential in the protection from organ-specific autoimmune diseases. In the pancreas, they inhibit actions of autoreactive T cells and thereby prevent diabetes progression. The signals that control the generation, the maintenance, or the expansion of regulatory T cell pool in vivo remain poorly understood. Here we show that a transient pulse of transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) in the islets during the priming phase of diabetes is sufficient to inhibit disease onset by promoting the expansion of intraislet CD4+CD25+ T cell pool. Approximately 40-50\% of intraislet CD4+ T cells expressed the CD25 marker and exhibited characteristics of regulatory T cells including small size, high level of intracellular CTLA-4, expression of Foxp3, and transfer of protection against diabetes. Results from in vivo incorporation of BrdUrd revealed that the generation of a high frequency of regulatory T cells in the islets is due to in situ expansion upon TGF-beta expression. Thus, these findings demonstrate a previously uncharacterized mechanism by which TGF-beta inhibits autoimmune diseases via regulation of the size of the CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cell pool in vivo.
This article was published in Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology