Research ArticleTransplantation

Human Regulatory T Cells with Alloantigen Specificity Are More Potent Inhibitors of Alloimmune Skin Graft Damage than Polyclonal Regulatory T Cells

Science Translational Medicine  18 May 2011:
Vol. 3, Issue 83, pp. 83ra42
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3002076

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Abstract

Graft rejection by the immune system is a major cause of transplant failure. Lifelong immunosuppression decreases the incidence of graft rejection; however, nonspecific immunosuppression results in increased susceptibly to infection and cancer. Regulatory T cells (Tregs), which suppress the activation of the immune system and induce tolerance, are currently under evaluation for use in clinical transplantation. Ex vivo expanded polyclonal Tregs that are introduced into transplant recipients alter the balance of T effector cells to Tregs; however, experimental data suggest that alloantigen-specific Tregs would be more effective at preventing graft rejection. We have developed a method to enrich alloantigen-specific human Tregs based on the coexpression of activation markers, CD69 and CD71. These Tregs could be readily expanded in vitro and demonstrated potent antigen-specific suppression. In a humanized mouse model of alloimmune-mediated injury of human skin grafts, alloantigen-specific Tregs resulted in a significant reduction in clinically relevant indicators of dermal tissue injury when compared with polyclonal Tregs, restoring a histology comparable to healthy skin. This method of human allospecific Treg selection should be scalable to the clinic. The improved in vivo efficacy of alloantigen-specific Tregs over polyclonal Tregs shown here suggests that generating “customized” Tregs with defined anti-donor allospecificities may improve current practice in clinical immunotherapy.

Footnotes

  • * These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Citation: P. Sagoo, N. Ali, G. Garg, F. O. Nestle, R. I. Lechler, G. Lombardi, Human Regulatory T Cells with Alloantigen Specificity Are More Potent Inhibitors of Alloimmune Skin Graft Damage than Polyclonal Regulatory T Cells. Sci. Transl. Med. 3, 83ra42 (2011).

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