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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.

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Immunol

Publication Date

15/03/2001

Volume

166

Pages

3789 - 3796

Keywords

Adoptive Transfer, Animals, Antibodies, Monoclonal, Antigens, CD4, Antigens, CD45, CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Cell Separation, Cells, Cultured, Cytokines, Graft Rejection, Heart Transplantation, Injections, Intravenous, Interleukin-10, Interleukin-4, Interphase, Isoantigens, Lymphocyte Activation, Lymphocyte Depletion, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Inbred CBA, Receptors, Interleukin-2, Signal Transduction, Skin Transplantation, T-Lymphocyte Subsets, Th1 Cells, Transplantation Tolerance