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Free Content CD4+ CD25high Foxp3+ regulatory T cells downregulate human Vδ2+ T-lymphocyte function triggered by anti-CD3 or phosphoantigen

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Vδ2+ T cells, the major circulating T-cell receptor-γδ-positive (TCR-γδ+) T-cell subset in healthy adults, are involved in immunity against many microbial pathogens including Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Vδ2+ T cells recognize small phosphorylated metabolites (phosphoantigens), expand in response to whole M. tuberculosis bacilli, and complement the protective functions of CD4+ T cells. CD4+ CD25high Foxp3+ T cells (Tregs) comprise 5–10% of circulating T cells and are increased in patients with active tuberculosis (TB). We investigated whether, in addition to their known role in suppressing TCR-αβ+ lymphocytes, Tregs suppress Vδ2+ T-cell function. We found that depletion of Tregs from peripheral blood mononuclear cells increased Vδ2+ T-cell expansion in response to M. tuberculosis (H37Ra) in tuberculin-skin-test-positive donors. We developed a suppression assay with fluorescence-activated cell sorting-purified Tregs and Vδ2+ T cells by coincubating the two cell types at a 1 : 1 ratio. The Tregs partially suppressed interferon-γ secretion by Vδ2+ T cells in response to anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody plus interleukin-2 (IL-2). In addition, Tregs downregulated the Vδ2+ T-cell interferon-γ responses induced by phosphoantigen (BrHPP) and IL-2. Under the latter conditions there was no TCR stimulus for Tregs and therefore IL-2 probably triggered suppressor activity. Addition of purified protein derivative (PPD) increased the suppression of Vδ2+ T cells, suggesting that PPD activated antigen-specific Tregs. Our study provides evidence that Tregs suppress both anti-CD3 and antigen-driven Vδ2+ T-cell activation. Antigen-specific Tregs may therefore contribute to the Vδ2+ T-cell functional deficiencies observed in TB.
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Keywords: Vδ2+ T cells; regulatory T cells; tuberculosis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University & University Hospitals of Cleveland, OH, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2009

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