Immune-suppressive cell populations, including Tregs and suppressor monocytes, have been implicated in long-term survival of allografts in both human transplant recipients and animal models. The factors that drive differentiation and function of these cell populations are not completely understood. In this issue, Bézie and colleagues identify IL-34 as an important mediator of allograft tolerance in a rat model of heart transplantation. Their data support a model in which IL-34 production by Tregs promotes a population of suppressive macrophages that in turn promote Treg differentiation. The results of this study support further exploration of the immunosuppressive properties of IL-34.
James I. Kim, Laurence A. Turka