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Keywords:

  • Depletion of Foxp3+ Tregs;
  • DEREG mice;
  • donor alloantigen-specific tolerance;
  • kidney allograft infiltrating Foxp3+ Tregs;
  • spontaneous kidney allograft tolerance

Abstract

Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) have an essential role in immune and allograft tolerance. However, in both kidney and liver transplantation in humans, FOXP3+ Tregs have been associated with clinical rejection. Therefore, the role and function of graft infiltrating Tregs have been of great interest. In the studies outlined, we demonstrated that Foxp3+ Tregs were expanded in tolerant kidney allografts and in draining lymph nodes in the DBA/2 (H-2d) to C57BL/6 (H-2b) mouse spontaneous kidney allograft tolerance model. Kidney allograft tolerance was abrogated after deletion of Foxp3+ Tregs in DEpletion of REGulatory T cells (DEREG) mice. Kidney allograft infiltrating Foxp3+ Tregs (K-Tregs) expressed elevated levels of TGF-β, IL-10, interferon gamma (IFN-γ), the transcriptional repressor B lymphocyte-induced maturation protein-1 (Blimp-1) and chemokine receptor 3 (Cxcr3). These K-Tregs had the capacity to transfer dominant tolerance and demonstrate donor alloantigen-specific tolerance to skin allografts. This study demonstrated the crucial role, potency and specificity of graft infiltrating Foxp3+ Tregs in the maintenance of spontaneously induced kidney allograft tolerance.