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Induction of alloantigen-specific human T regulatory cells by vasoactive intestinal peptide

AuthorsPozo, David ; Anderson, Per; González-Rey, Elena
Growth inhibitors
Vasoactive intestinal peptide
Issue Date1-Oct-2009
PublisherAmerican Association of Immunologists
CitationJournal of Immunology 183(7): 4346-4359 (2009)
AbstractT regulatory cells (Tregs) are instrumental in the maintenance of immunological tolerance. Although Treg-based immunotherapy proved successful in preclinical autoimmunity and transplantation, factors involved in the generation of human Ag-specific Tregs are poorly known. In this study, we show that treatment of human CD4+CD25- T cells with the cytokine-like vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) during in vitro stimulation induces an anergic FoxP3+CD4+CD25high T cell subset displaying potent regulatory activities against allospecific effector T cells, irrespective of the presence of naturally occurring Tregs. VIP-tolerant T cells are characterized by incapability to progress to S phase of cell cycle during stimulation with HLA-disparate APCs by negatively affecting the synthesis of cyclins D3 and E, the activation of cyclin-dependent kinases (cdk)2 and cdk4, and the down-regulation of the cdk inhibitor p27kip1. VIP interaction with the type 1 VIP receptor and subsequent activation of cAMP/protein kinase A pathway play a major role in all these effects. Moreover, VIP-tolerant T cells protect against acute graft-vs-host disease in a mouse model of allogeneic bone marrow transplantation. The infusion of VIP-tolerant T cells together with the graft significantly reduces the clinical signs and mortality rate typical of the graft-vs-host disease. These effects are mediated by impairing allogeneic haplotype-specific responses of donor CD4+ cells in the transplanted animals. Our results suggest that including alloantigen-specific VIP-generated Tregs may be a valuable tool in therapeutic interventions to promote immunotolerance toward allogeneic grafts and to reduce the need of general immunosuppressive drugs. Copyright © 2009 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.
Identifiersdoi: 10.4049/jimmunol.0900400
issn: 0022-1767
e-issn: 1550-6606
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