The potential of human regulatory T cells generated ex vivo as a treatment for lupus and other chronic inflammatory diseases
The Division of Rheumatology and Immunology, Department of Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA
Arthritis Res 2002, 4:241-246 doi:10.1186/ar414Published: 12 March 2002
Regulatory T cells prevent autoimmunity by suppressing the reactivity of potentially aggressive self-reactive T cells. Contact-dependent CD4+ CD25+ 'professional' suppressor cells and other cytokine-producing CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell subsets mediate this protective function. Evidence will be reviewed that T cells primed with transforming growth factor (TGF)-β expand rapidly following restimulation. Certain CD4+ T cells become contact-dependent suppressor cells and other CD4+ and CD8+ cells become cytokine-producing regulatory cells. This effect is dependent upon a sufficient amount of IL-2 in the microenvironment to overcome the suppressive effects of TGF-β. The adoptive transfer of these suppressor cells generated ex vivo can protect mice from developing chronic graft-versus-host disease with a lupus-like syndrome and alter the course of established disease. These data suggest that autologous T cells primed and expanded with TGF-β have the potential to be used as a therapy for patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and other chronic inflammatory diseases. This novel adoptive immunotherapy also has the potential to prevent the rejection of allogeneic transplants.