Generation and Expansion of Human CD4+CD25+ Regulatory T Cells with Indirect Allospecificity: Potential Reagents to Promote Donor-Specific Transplantation Tolerance
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BACKGROUND: Harnessing naturally arising CD4+ CD25+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) for potential adoptive cell therapy is hampered by their innate autoreactivity and their limited number. METHODS: CD4+ CD25+ Tregs were purified from peripheral blood of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) DR1*0101+ A2- individuals, and stimulated with autologous monocyte-derived dendritic cells (DCs). RESULTS: Here we show that CD4+ CD25+ Tregs specific for an HLA A2 (103-120) peptide can be selected from the peripheral blood CD4+ CD25+ T cell population of a healthy individual and detected using a tetramer comprised of HLA DRB1*0101 and the A2 peptide. The selected cells can be expanded substantially (i.e., a 1600-fold increase over a two-week period) by T-cell receptor (TCR) stimulation and high-doses of interleukin-2 (IL-2). The CD4+ CD25+Tregs with indirect allospecificity for the A2 peptide showed more potent antigen-specific suppression than polyclonal CD4+ CD25+ Tregs. CONCLUSIONS: These data may pave the way for clinical studies using CD4+ CD25+ Tregs with indirect allospecificity as therapeutic reagents for the induction of donor-specific transplantation tolerance.
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