Deficiency of Mouse CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ Regulatory T Cells in Xenogeneic Pig Thymus-Grafted Nude Mice Suffering from Autoimmune Diseases

Abstract

Xenogeneic thymus transplantation can efficiently induce specific immune tolerance to donor antigens in athymic recipients. However, many nude mice suffer from autoimmune diseases (AID) for over 10 weeks after xenogeneic thymus transplantation. CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T (Treg) cells were recently determined to play a pivotal role in keeping immune tolerance in humans and mice. Thus, we investigated this subpopulation of Treg cells in the periphery of pig thymus-grafted nude mice suffering from AID. Our results showed that the expression of Foxp3, CTLA-4 and GITR on mouse CD4+CD25+ T cells and the ratio of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ Treg cells to CD4+ T cells were significantly decreased in the periphery of pig thymus-grafted nude mice suffering from AID, compared with healthy pig or mouse thymus-grafted nude mice. Furthermore, mouse CD4+CD25+ T cells in pig thymus-grafted nude mice suffering from AID showed more severe deficiency in immunosuppressive function compared with the counterpart in xenogeneic pig or syngeneic thymus-grafted nude mice without AID. Thus, the decreased frequency, altered phenotype and functional deficiency of mouse CD4+CD25+ Treg cells in pig thymus-grafted nude mice may contribute to the development of AID in this model.

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Correspondence to Yong Zhao.

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Zhang, B., Sun, C., Qu, Y. et al. Deficiency of Mouse CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ Regulatory T Cells in Xenogeneic Pig Thymus-Grafted Nude Mice Suffering from Autoimmune Diseases. Cell Mol Immunol 5, 325–332 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1038/cmi.2008.40

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Keywords

  • regulatory T cell
  • Foxp3
  • autoimmune disease
  • pig
  • thymus transplantation

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