Immune regulation by CTLA-4-relevance to autoimmune diabetes in a transgenic mouse model.

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Colleges, School and Institutes


BACKGROUND The importance of cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) in immune regulation is unquestioned, yet a precise understanding of which cells express it, and how it mediates immune inhibitory function, is lacking. Regulatory T cells are known to constitutively express CTLA-4 intracellularly, whereas conventional T cells require activation to trigger CTLA-4 expression. However comparative analysis of CTLA-4 trafficking in regulatory and conventional subsets has not been performed. METHODS Here we assess CTLA-4 expression in antigen-specific conventional and regulatory cells responding to immunizing antigen in vivo and analyse the membrane trafficking of CTLA-4 using an in vitro recycling assay. We assess the expression of CTLA-4 on Treg infiltrating the pancreas in the DO11 × RIP-mOVA diabetes model and the role of CTLA-4 in Treg function. RESULTS Regulatory T cells show an enhanced capacity to traffic CTLA-4 following stimulation compared with conventional T cells. Treg infiltrating the pancreas in DO11 × RIP-mOVA mice show high expression of CTLA-4. Furthermore CTLA-4-deficient Treg fail to control diabetes in an adoptive transfer model of diabetes, even in situations where they outnumber the disease-inducing conventional T cells. CONCLUSIONS These data show that not only do regulatory T cells express higher levels of intracellular CTLA-4 than conventional T cells, but they also show an increased capacity to traffic CTLA-4 to the cell surface following stimulation. CTLA-4 is strongly upregulated in regulatory T cells infiltrating the target tissue in a mouse model of type 1 diabetes and expression of this protein is critical for effective regulation. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)946-50
Number of pages5
JournalDiabetes/metabolism research and reviews
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2011