Under normal circumstances, the respiratory tract maintains immune tolerance in the face of constant antigen provocation. Using a murine model of tolerance induced by repeated exposure to a low dose of aerosolized antigen, we show an important contribution by CD4+ T cells in the establishment and maintenance of tolerance. The CD4+ T cells expressed both cell surface and soluble TGF-β and inhibited the development of an allergic phenotype when adoptively transferred to naive recipient mice. While cells expressing cell surface TGF-β were detectable in mice with inflammation, albeit at a lower frequency compared with that in tolerized mice, only those from tolerized mice expressed FOXP3. Blockade of TGF-β in vitro and in vivo interfered with immunosuppression. Although cells that expressed TGF-β on the cell surface (TGF-β+), as well as the ones that did not (TGF-β–), secreted equivalent levels of soluble TGF-β, only the former were able to blunt the development of an allergic phenotype in mice. Strikingly, separation of the TGF-β+ cells from the rest of the cells allowed the TGF-β– cells to proliferate in response to antigen. We propose a model of antigen-induced tolerance that involves cell-cell contact with regulatory CD4+ T cells that coexpress membrane-bound TGF-β and FOXP3.
Marina Ostroukhova, Carole Seguin-Devaux, Timothy B. Oriss, Barbara Dixon-McCarthy, Liyan Yang, Bill T. Ameredes, Timothy E. Corcoran, Anuradha Ray
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were accepted. No appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.