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This article is part of the supplement: Kitasato Symposium 2011: Translational prospects for cytokines in 2011

Open Badges Oral presentation

Regulatory T cells in transplantation - from preclinical models to clinical study

Kathryn Wood

  • Correspondence: Kathryn Wood

Author affiliations

Transplantation Research Immunology Group, Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK

Citation and License

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2011, 13(Suppl 2):O4  doi:10.1186/ar3408

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published:16 September 2011

© 2011 Wood.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Oral presentation

After exposure to alloantigen in vivo and in vitro, alloantigen reactive immunoregulatory activity is enriched in a population of CD4+ T cells that express high levels of CD25, the α chain of the interleukin-2 receptor, and the transcription factor FOXP3. In vivo, common mechanisms underpin the activity of CD25+CD4+ Treg in adult hosts. We identified a unique role for IFNγ in the functional activity of CD25+CD4+ alloantigen reactive Treg during the development of operational tolerance to donor alloantigens in vivo that is consistent with observations showing that tolerance to alloantigens cannot be induced in the absence of IFNγ [1]. In order to provide proof of concept data for translation of findings in preclinical models to the bedside, we have demonstrated that human regulatory T cells expanded ex vivo can protect human allografts (skin and vessels) from rejection [2,3].

The identification and characterisation of Treg that can control immune responsiveness to alloantigens has opened up exciting opportunities for new therapies in transplantation.


  1. Sawitzki B, Kingsley CI, Oliveira V, Karim M, Herber M, Wood KJ: Interferon gamma production by alloantigen reactive CD25+CD4+ regulatory T cells is important for their regulatory function in vivo.

    Journal of Experimental Medicine 2005, 201:1925-1935. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text | PubMed Central Full Text OpenURL

  2. Nadig SN, Wieckiewicz J, Wu DC, Warnecke G, Zhang W, Luo S, et al.: In vivo prevention of transplant arteriosclerosis by ex vivo-expanded human regulatory T cells.

    Nat Med 2010, 16(7):809-813. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text | PubMed Central Full Text OpenURL

  3. Issa F, Hester J, Goto R, Nadig SN, Goodacre T, Wood K: Ex vivo-expanded human regulatory T cells prevent the rejection of skin allografts in a humanised mouse model.

    Transplantation 2010, 90:1321-1327. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text OpenURL