Allospecific CD4+ T cells retain effector function and are actively regulated by Treg cells in the context of transplantation tolerance

Academic Article


  • Although donor-specific transfusion (DST) plus CD154 blockade represents a robust protocol for inducing transplantation tolerance, the underlying mechanisms are incompletely understood. In a murine T-cell adoptive transfer model, we have visualized alloantigen-specific, TCR-transgenic for H2-Ab/H2-Kd54-68 epitope (TCR75) CD4+ T cells with indirect allospecificity during the course of tolerance induction. Three main observations were made. First, although the majority of TCR75 CD4+ T cells were deleted following DST plus CD154 blockade, the surviving TCR75 CD4+ T cells were capable of making IL-2, upregulating CD44, and undergoing cell division, suggesting that they were functionally active. Indeed, residual TCR75 CD4+ T cells reisolated from the primary recipients given DST plus CD154 blockade were fully capable of rejecting allografts upon secondary transfer. Second, in tolerant mice, TCR75 CD4+ T cells were not induced to express Foxp3 in the graft-draining lymph node. TCR75 CD4+ T cells were also absent in accepted graft tissues in which endogenous Treg cells were enriched. Finally, DST plus CD154 blockade resulted in an abortive expansion of TCR75 CD4+ T cells, a process that required the presence of endogenous Treg cells. Collectively, surviving TCR75 CD4+ T cells are immunocompetent but kept in check by an endogenous immunosuppressive network induced by DST plus CD154 blockade.
  • Authors

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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Chai JG; Ratnasothy K; Bucy RP; Noelle RJ; Lechler R; Lombardi G
  • Start Page

  • 2017
  • End Page

  • 2027
  • Volume

  • 45
  • Issue

  • 7