It is generally acknowledged that cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen-4 (CTLA-4/CD152) plays a pivotal role in the regulation of T-cell activation and the establishment of self-tolerance in the periphery. CTLA-4-deficient (CTLA-4KO) mice develop a lymphoproliferative disorder and die within 4 weeks of birth, suggesting a role for CTLA-4 in T-cell homeostasis or the development and activity of T-regulatory (Treg) cells. To study the role of CTLA-4 in the control of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), we have generated a CTLA-4KO mouse in which >90% of all CD4(+) T cells bear a Vbeta8.2 transgenic T-cell receptor that is specific for myelin basic protein peptide Ac1-9 (ASQKRPSQR). These mice do not develop spontaneous lymphoproliferative disease or EAE and are resistant to disease induction. This correlates with a higher frequency of functional FoxP3(+) Treg cells in the spleen and thymus of CTLA-4KO mice. The absence of CTLA-4-mediated suppression of CD28 signaling resulted in the early expression of FoxP3 on double-positive cells in the thymic cortex. We conclude that CTLA-4 is not essential for the peripheral function of FoxP3(+) Treg cells but plays a pivotal role in their thymic selection.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||National Academy of Sciences. Proceedings|
|Early online date||13 Feb 2009|
|Publication status||Published - 13 Feb 2009|
- thymus suppression
- experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis