Journal Article
. 2017 Jan; 198(4):1503-1511.
doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1601670.

TCR Signaling and CD28/CTLA-4 Signaling Cooperatively Modulate T Regulatory Cell Homeostasis

Michael P Holt 1 George A Punkosdy 2 Deborah D Glass 1 Ethan M Shevach 3 
  • PMID: 28053234
  •     53 References
  •     16 citations


Foxp3+ T regulatory cells (Tregs), conventional CD4+Foxp3- T cells, and CD8+ T cells represent heterogeneous populations composed of naive phenotype (NP, CD44low) and memory phenotype (MP, CD44high) subpopulations. NP and MP subsets differ in their activation state, contribution to immune function, and capacity to proliferate in vivo. To further understand the factors that contribute to the differential homeostasis of NP/MP subsets, we examined the differential effects of CD28 and CTLA-4 interaction with CD80/CD86, as well as MHC class II-TCR interaction within mouse Treg pools and CD4+ and CD8+ T cell pools. Blockade of CD80/CD86 with CTLA-4-Ig markedly reduced the cycling and absolute numbers of MP Tregs and MP CD4+ T cells, with minimal effect on the NP T cell subpopulations. Blockade of MHC class II-TCR interaction led to selective expansion of MP Tregs and MP CD4+ and CD8+ T cells that was reversed upon cotreatment with CTLA-4-Ig. Treatment with anti-CTLA-4 mAb altered MP Treg and MP CD4+ and CD8+ T cell homeostasis in a manner similar to that observed with anti-MHC class II. We postulate a complex pathway in which CD28 is the primary driver of Treg proliferation and CTLA-4 functions as the main brake but is likely dependent on TCR signals and CD80/CD86. These findings have important implications for the use of biologic agents targeting such pathways to modulate autoimmune and neoplastic disease.

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