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CD4⁺CD25⁺ regulatory T cells control CD8⁺ T-cell effector differentiation by modulating IL-2 homeostasis
- McNally, Alice, Hill, Geoffrey R., Sparwasser, Tim, Thomas, Ranjeny, Steptoe, Raymond J.
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2011 v.108 no.18 pp. 7529-7534
- CD8-positive T-lymphocytes, adaptive immunity, autocrine signaling, cell differentiation, homeostasis, immune response, interleukin-2
- CD4⁺CD25⁺ regulatory T cells (Treg) play a crucial role in the regulation of immune responses. Although many mechanisms of Treg suppression in vitro have been described, the mechanisms by which Treg modulate CD8⁺ T cell differentiation and effector function in vivo are more poorly defined. It has been proposed, in many instances, that modulation of cytokine homeostasis could be an important mechanism by which Treg regulate adaptive immunity; however, direct experimental evidence is sparse. Here we demonstrate that CD4⁺CD25⁺ Treg, by critically regulating IL-2 homeostasis, modulate CD8⁺ T-cell effector differentiation. Expansion and effector differentiation of CD8⁺ T cells is promoted by autocrine IL-2 but, by competing for IL-2, Treg limit CD8⁺ effector differentiation. Furthermore, a regulatory loop exists between Treg and CD8⁺ effector T cells, where IL-2 produced during CD8⁺ T-cell effector differentiation promotes Treg expansion.