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Open Access The Time Is Crucial for Ex Vivo Expansion of T Regulatory Cells for Therapy

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Ex vivo expanded CD4+CD25highCD127 T regulatory cells (Tregs) are recognized as a promising candidate for immunosuppressive therapy in humans. However, due to the plasticity of Tregs lineage and artificial environment present during ex vivo expansion, Tregs easily lose suppressive activity. Here, we followed expanding CD4+CD25highCD127 Tregs and their naive (CD45RA+) and memory-like (CD45RA) subsets in order to establish the best conditions of the expansion. We found that, regardless of the phenotype sorted, expanding Tregs were undergoing changes resembling homeostatic proliferation and transformed into effector memory-like cells which produced not only suppressive interleukin-10 (IL-10) but also IL-6, IL-17, and interferon-γ (IFN-γ). With the time ex vivo, Tregs were losing the expression of FoxP3 and suppressive activity both when stimulated and when at rest. The only variable that helped preserve suppressive abilities of Tregs was the limitation of the time of ex vivo cultures to 2 weeks only. According to our study, the highest number of highly suppressive Tregs could be yielded with CD4+CD25highCD127 Tregs cultured no longer than 2 weeks. Thorough quality check, preferentially with the assessment of FoxP3 expression and IFN-γ suppression assay, should be applied to assess suppressive activity of the cells.

Keywords: Cellular therapy; Homeostatic proliferation; Immunosuppression; Immunotherapy; T regulatory cells (Tregs)

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Clinical Immunology and Transplantology, Medical University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk Poland

Publication date: 2011-11-01

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.
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