FoxP3 and Bcl-xL cooperatively promote regulatory T cell persistence and prevention of arthritis development
1 Department of Microbiology & Immunology and Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, 500 University Drive, Hershey, PA 17033, USA
2 Institute of Immunology, The Third Military Medical University, 30 Gaotanyan Street, Chongqing 400038, PR China
Arthritis Research & Therapy 2010, 12:R66 doi:10.1186/ar2983
See related letter by Sharabi and Mozes, http://arthritis-research.com/content/12/4/405Published: 12 April 2010
Forkhead box p3 (FoxP3)-expressing regulatory T cells (Tregs) have been clearly implicated in the control of autoimmune disease in murine models. In addition, ectopic expression of FoxP3 conveys a Treg phenotype to CD4+ T cells, lending itself to therapeutic use in the prevention of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In this study, we generated therapeutically active Tregs with an increased life span and hence greater therapeutic potential.
We used retrovirus-mediated transduction to introduce FoxP3 or FoxP3 with anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family molecule Bcl-xL linked by a 2A picornavirus self-cleaving peptide into CD4+ T cells to generate Tregs. In addition, by using in vitro functional analyses and adoptive immunotherapy in a murine model of RA, we demonstrated that these Tregs were highly reactive.
We found that CD4+ T cells expressing both FoxP3 and Bcl-xL were able to differentiate into functional Tregs, which have a long-term survival advantage over cells transduced with FoxP3 alone. In an in vivo murine model, adoptive transfer of Tregs expressing both FoxP3 and Bcl-xL demonstrated more effective suppression of RA than CD4+ T cells expressing FoxP3 alone.
FoxP3 and Bcl-xL can cooperatively promote the differentiation and persistence of Tregs, with the capacity to prevent arthritis. Our results provide a novel approach for generating highly reactive Tregs for augmenting cellular immunotherapy for autoimmune disease.