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Specific and selective immunological unresponsiveness to donor alloantigens can be induced in vivo. We have shown previously that CD25+CD4+ T cells from mice exhibiting long-term operational tolerance to donor alloantigens can regulate rejection of allogeneic skin grafts mediated by CD45RB(high)CD4+ T cells. In this study, we wished to determine whether donor-specific regulatory cells can be generated during the induction phase of unresponsiveness, i.e., before transplantation. We provide evidence that pretreatment with anti-CD4 Ab plus a donor-specific transfusion generates donor-specific regulatory CD25+CD4+ T cells that can suppress rejection of skin grafts mediated by naive CD45RB(high)CD4+ T cells. Regulatory cells were contained only in the CD25+ fraction, as equivalent numbers of CD25-CD4+ T cells were unable to regulate rejection. This pretreatment strategy led to increased expression of CD122 by the CD25+CD4+ T cells. Blockade of both the IL-10 and CTLA-4 pathways abrogated immunoregulation mediated by CD25+ T cells, suggesting that IL-10 and CTLA-4 are required for the functional activity of this population of immunoregulatory T cells. In clinical transplantation, the generation of regulatory T cells that could provide dynamic control of rejection responses is a possible route to permanent graft survival without the need for long-term immunosuppression.

Original publication




Journal article


J Immunol

Publication Date





1080 - 1086


Abatacept, Animals, Antibodies, Monoclonal, Antigens, CD, Antigens, Differentiation, Blood Transfusion, CD4 Antigens, CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes, CTLA-4 Antigen, Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte, Graft Rejection, Immunoconjugates, Interleukin-10, Isoantigens, Lymphocyte Activation, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Inbred CBA, Mice, Knockout, Receptors, Interleukin-2, T-Lymphocyte Subsets, Transplantation Conditioning, Transplantation Tolerance