IL-10 is required for regulatory T cells to mediate tolerance to alloantigens in vivo.
Hara M., Kingsley CI., Niimi M., Read S., Turvey SE., Bushell AR., Morris PJ., Powrie F., Wood KJ.
We present evidence that donor-reactive CD4(+) T cells present in mice tolerant to donor alloantigens are phenotypically and functionally heterogeneous. CD4(+) T cells contained within the CD45RB(high) fraction remained capable of mediating graft rejection when transferred to donor alloantigen-grafted T cell-depleted mice. In contrast, the CD45RB(low) CD4(+) and CD25(+)CD4(+) populations failed to induce rejection, but rather, were able to inhibit rejection initiated by naive CD45RB(high) CD4(+) T cells. Analysis of the mechanism of immunoregulation transferred by CD45RB(low) CD4(+) T cells in vivo revealed that it was donor Ag specific and could be inhibited by neutralizing Abs reactive with IL-10, but not IL-4. CD45RB(low) CD4(+) T cells from tolerant mice were also immune suppressive in vitro, as coculture of these cells with naive CD45RB(high) CD4(+) T cells inhibited proliferation and Th1 cytokine production in response to donor alloantigens presented via the indirect pathway. These results demonstrate that alloantigen-specific regulatory T cells contained within the CD45RB(low) CD4(+) T cell population are responsible for the maintenance of tolerance to donor alloantigens in vivo and require IL-10 for functional activity.