Characterization of FOXP3+CD4+ regulatory T cells in Crohn's disease.
Saruta M., Yu QT., Fleshner PR., Mantel PY., Schmidt-Weber CB., Banham AH., Papadakis KA.
FOXP3(+)CD4(+) regulatory T cells (T(R)) have emerged as important regulators of immune responses. The aim of our study was to assess the frequency and functional characteristics of FOXP3(+)CD4(+) T(R) in Crohn's disease (CD). We report that FOXP3(+)CD4(+) T(R) cells are expanded in mucosal lymphoid tissues (lamina propria and MLN) but are decreased in the PB in active CD. Patients treated with thiopurines, but not steroids or anti-TNF-alpha inhibitors, have a lower frequency of PB FOXP3(+)CD4(+) T(R) (7.8+/-2.4% vs. 9.9+/-1.8%, p=0.01). FOXP3(+) cells were localized in the lamina propria (LP), muscularis mucosa and serosa and accumulated in granulomas, whereas in MLN they localize in the T cell rich areas. MLN CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells from both CD and normal intestine efficiently suppress the proliferation of effector CD4(+)CD25(-) T cells. T cell activation of MLN in vitro with anti-CD3 plus anti-CD28 Abs enhances the expression of FOXP3, both at the protein and transcriptional level, which is further enhanced by the addition of TGF-beta. In summary, there is an expansion of FOXP3(+)CD4(+) T(R) cells in mucosal lymphoid tissues in CD; they accumulate in areas of active inflammation, including granulomas and retain potent regulatory activity ex vivo.