Understanding the mechanisms that lead to autoimmunity is critical for defining potential therapeutic pathways. In this regard there have been considerable efforts in investigating the interacting roles of TGF-β and IL-2 on the function regulatory T cells. We have taken advantage of dnTGF-βRII Il2ra-/- (abbreviated as Il2ra-/-Tg) mouse model, which allows a direct mechanistic approach to define the relative roles of TGF-β and IL-2 on Treg development. Il2ra-/-Tg mice spontaneously developed multi-organ autoimmune diseases with expansion of pathogenic T cells and enhanced germinal center response at 3-4 weeks of age. Importantly, peripheral Treg cells from Il2ra-/-Tg mice demonstrated an activated Th1-like stable phenotype and normal in vitro suppressive function, while thymus Treg increased but manifested decreased suppressive function. Interestingly, neither thymus nor peripheral Treg cells of Il2ra-/-Tg mice contained Neuropilin-1+ or PD-1hi phenotype, resulting in defective follicular regulatory T (Tfr) cell development. Such defective Tfr development led to elevated follicular T helper cells, enhanced germinal center responses and increased plasma cell infiltration. These data demonstrate an important synergetic role of TGF-β and IL-2 in the generation, activation and stability of Treg cells, as well as their subsequent development into Tfr cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology
- Cancer Research