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Free Content Interleukin-4 suppresses the cytotoxic potential of in vitro generated, adaptive regulatory CD4+ T cells by down-regulation of granzyme B

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Regulatory CD4+ T cells (Tregs) control immune responses using secretion of anti-inflammatory cytokines and/or cytotoxic mechanisms and play a central role in the outcomes of several immune pathologies. Previous studies suggest an impaired function of Tregs in allergy, especially during allergen seasons, but the underlying mechanism is not known. Therefore, we analysed the impact of the T helper type 2 cytokine interleukin (IL)-4 on in vitro generated adaptive Tregs (aTregs), which have been reported to use the granzyme B (GrB)/perforin pathway to kill autologous immune cells. aTregs were generated by co-ligation of CD3 and CD46 on CD4+ T lymphocytes and granzyme expression was analysed using flow cytometry. To quantify GrB and perforin expression as well as IL-10 secretion in response to IL-4, specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays were performed in cell lysates and/or culture supernatants. Using a flow cytometry-based cytotoxicity assay the impact of IL-4 on the cytotoxic potential of aTregs was investigated. While IL-4 did not affect IL-10 secretion and perforin expression in aTregs, a significant suppression of GrB synthesis was detected in the presence of IL-4. In addition, IL-4-mediated suppression of GrB led to impaired cytotoxicity of aTregs against K562 target cells. In conclusion, our data suggest that IL-4 might play a role in impaired aTreg function in allergy.
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Keywords: adaptive regulatory CD4+ T cells; allergy; granzyme B; interleukin-10; interleukin-4

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2009

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