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1.  Th22 cells represent a distinct human T cell subset involved in epidermal immunity and remodeling 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2009;119(12):3573-3585.
Th subsets are defined according to their production of lineage-indicating cytokines and functions. In this study, we have identified a subset of human Th cells that infiltrates the epidermis in individuals with inflammatory skin disorders and is characterized by the secretion of IL-22 and TNF-α, but not IFN-γ, IL-4, or IL-17. In analogy to the Th17 subset, cells with this cytokine profile have been named the Th22 subset. Th22 clones derived from patients with psoriasis were stable in culture and exhibited a transcriptome profile clearly separate from those of Th1, Th2, and Th17 cells; it included genes encoding proteins involved in tissue remodeling, such as FGFs, and chemokines involved in angiogenesis and fibrosis. Primary human keratinocytes exposed to Th22 supernatants expressed a transcriptome response profile that included genes involved in innate immune pathways and the induction and modulation of adaptive immunity. These proinflammatory Th22 responses were synergistically dependent on IL-22 and TNF-α. Furthermore, Th22 supernatants enhanced wound healing in an in vitro injury model, which was exclusively dependent on IL-22. In conclusion, the human Th22 subset may represent a separate T cell subset with a distinct identity with respect to gene expression and function, present within the epidermal layer in inflammatory skin diseases. Future strategies directed against the Th22 subset may be of value in chronic inflammatory skin disorders.
PMCID: PMC2786807  PMID: 19920355
2.  Expression of cytokine mRNA and protein in joints and lymphoid organs during the course of rat antigen-induced arthritis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2005;7(3):R445-R457.
Cytokine expression was assessed during antigen-induced arthritis (AIA) in synovial membrane (SM), inguinal lymph node (LN), and spleen using competitive RT-PCR and sandwich ELISA. In the SM, early elevations of IL-1β and IL-6 mRNA (by 6 hours; 450- and 200-fold, respectively) correlated with the joint swelling; a 6-fold increase in tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) was not significant. Not only IL-2 and IFN-γ (which increased 10,000-fold and 200-fold, respectively), but also IL-5 and IL-10, increased acutely (6 hours – day 1; 3-fold and 35-fold, respectively) in the SM. In general, the protein levels in the SM for IL-1β, IL-6, TNFα, IFN-γ, IL-4, and IL-10 (increase from 4-fold to 15-fold) matched the course of mRNA expression. In the inguinal LN, there were early mRNA elevations of IL-6 (a 2.5-fold increase by 6 hours, which correlated positively with the joint swelling) and IL-2 (4-fold by 6 hours), as well as later rises of IL-4 and IL-5 (2.5- and 4-fold, respectively, by day 3). No significant elevations of the corresponding proteins in this tissue were observed, except for IL-1β (by day 6) and IL-10 (by day 1). In the spleen, there were significant mRNA elevations at 6 hours of IL-1β (1.5-fold), IL-6 (4-fold; positively correlated with the joint swelling), IFN-γ (3-fold), and IL-2 (7- to 10-fold). IL-5 and IL-10 (2- and 3-fold, respectively) peaked from 6 hours to day 3 in the spleen. Increases of the corresponding proteins were significant in comparison with day 0 only in the case of IL-2 (day 6). By day 6 (transition to the chronic phase), the mRNA for cytokines declined to or below prearthritis levels in all the tissues studied except for IL-1β in the SM and IL-6 in the spleen. AIA is thus characterized by four phenomena: early synovial activation of macrophages, T helper (Th)1-like, and Th2-like cells; late, well-segregated Th2-like responses in the inguinal LN; late, overlapping Th1-like/Th2-like peaks in the spleen; and chronic elevation of synovial IL-1β mRNA and spleen IL-6 mRNA.
PMCID: PMC1174936  PMID: 15899031
3.  Immune Responses in Healthy and Allergic Individuals Are Characterized by a Fine Balance between Allergen-specific T Regulatory 1 and T Helper 2 Cells 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2004;199(11):1567-1575.
The mechanisms by which immune responses to nonpathogenic environmental antigens lead to either allergy or nonharmful immunity are unknown. Single allergen-specific T cells constitute a very small fraction of the whole CD4+ T cell repertoire and can be isolated from the peripheral blood of humans according to their cytokine profile. Freshly purified interferon-γ–, interleukin (IL)-4–, and IL-10–producing allergen-specific CD4+ T cells display characteristics of T helper cell (Th)1-, Th2-, and T regulatory (Tr)1–like cells, respectively. Tr1 cells consistently represent the dominant subset specific for common environmental allergens in healthy individuals; in contrast, there is a high frequency of allergen-specific IL-4–secreting T cells in allergic individuals. Tr1 cells use multiple suppressive mechanisms, IL-10 and TGF-β as secreted cytokines, and cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4 and programmed death 1 as surface molecules. Healthy and allergic individuals exhibit all three allergen-specific subsets in different proportions, indicating that a change in the dominant subset may lead to allergy development or recovery. Accordingly, blocking the suppressor activity of Tr1 cells or increasing Th2 cell frequency enhances allergen-specific Th2 cell activation ex vivo. These results indicate that the balance between allergen-specific Tr1 cells and Th2 cells may be decisive in the development of allergy.
PMCID: PMC2211782  PMID: 15173208
peripheral tolerance; allergens; suppression; interleukins; immune regulation
4.  Differential clinical efficacy of anti-CD4 monoclonal antibodies in rat adjuvant arthritis is paralleled by differential influence on NF-κB binding activity and TNF-α secretion of T cells 
Arthritis Research  2002;4(3):184-189.
The aim of this study was to analyze the differential effects of three anti-CD4 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) (with distinct epitope specifities) in the treatment of rat adjuvant arthritis (AA) and on T-cell function and signal transduction. Rat AA was preventively treated by intraperitoneal injection of the anti-CD4 mAbs W3/25, OX35, and RIB5/2 (on days -1, 0, 3, and 6, i.e. 1 day before AA induction, on the day of induction [day 0], and thereafter). The effects on T-cell reactivity in vivo (delayed-type hypersensitivity), ex vivo (ConA-induced proliferation), and in vitro (mixed lymphocyte culture) were assessed. The in vitro effects of anti-CD4 preincubation on T-cell receptor (TCR)/CD3-induced cytokine production and signal transduction were also analyzed. While preventive treatment with OX35 and W3/25 significantly ameliorated AA from the onset, treatment with RIB5/2 even accelerated the onset of AA by approximately 2 days (day 10), and ameliorated the arthritis only in the late phase (day 27). Differential clinical effects at the onset of AA were paralleled by a differential influence of the mAbs on T-cell functions, i.e. in comparison with OX35 and W3/25, the 'accelerating' mAb RIB5/2 failed to increase the delayed-type hypersentivity (DTH) to Mycobacterium tuberculosis, increased the in vitro tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α secretion, and more strongly induced NF-κB binding activity after anti-CD4 preincubation and subsequent TCR/CD3-stimulation. Depending on their epitope specificity, different anti-CD4 mAbs differentially influence individual proinflammatory functions of T cells. This fine regulation may explain the differential efficacy in the treatment of AA and may contribute to the understanding of such treatments in other immunopathologies.
PMCID: PMC111020  PMID: 12010568
adjuvant arthritis; anti-CD4 monoclonal antibody; TNF-alpha; NF-kappaB
5.  GATA3-Driven Th2 Responses Inhibit TGF-β1–Induced FOXP3 Expression and the Formation of Regulatory T Cells 
PLoS Biology  2007;5(12):e329.
Transcription factors act in concert to induce lineage commitment towards Th1, Th2, or T regulatory (Treg) cells, and their counter-regulatory mechanisms were shown to be critical for polarization between Th1 and Th2 phenotypes. FOXP3 is an essential transcription factor for natural, thymus-derived (nTreg) and inducible Treg (iTreg) commitment; however, the mechanisms regulating its expression are as yet unknown. We describe a mechanism controlling iTreg polarization, which is overruled by the Th2 differentiation pathway. We demonstrated that interleukin 4 (IL-4) present at the time of T cell priming inhibits FOXP3. This inhibitory mechanism was also confirmed in Th2 cells and in T cells of transgenic mice overexpressing GATA-3 in T cells, which are shown to be deficient in transforming growth factor (TGF)-β–mediated FOXP3 induction. This inhibition is mediated by direct binding of GATA3 to the FOXP3 promoter, which represses its transactivation process. Therefore, this study provides a new understanding of tolerance development, controlled by a type 2 immune response. IL-4 treatment in mice reduces iTreg cell frequency, highlighting that therapeutic approaches that target IL-4 or GATA3 might provide new preventive strategies facilitating tolerance induction particularly in Th2-mediated diseases, such as allergy.
Author Summary
Specific immune responses against foreign or autologous antigens are driven by specialized epitope-specific T cells, whose numbers expand upon recognition of antigen found on professional antigen-presenting cells. The subsequent maturation process involves the differentiation of certain T cell phenotypes such as pro-inflammatory cells (Th1, Th2, Th17) or regulatory T (Treg) cells, which serve to keep the immune response in check. The current study focuses on the role of two key transcription factors—FOXP3 and GATA3—in controlling the commitment of these cells. We demonstrate that the Th2 cytokine IL-4 inhibits the induction of FOXP3 and thus inhibits the generation of inducible Treg cells. We show that IL-4–induced GATA3 mediates FOXP3 inhibition by directly binding to a GATA element in the FOXP3 promoter. We hypothesize that therapeutic agents aimed at neutralizing IL-4 could be a novel strategy to facilitate inducible Treg cell generation and thus promotion of tolerance in allergies and other Th2-dominated diseases.
It is shown that Th2 responses prevent the generation of inducible Tregs. This is mediated by IL-4 induction of GATA3, which binds directly to and represses the FOXP3 promoter. This mechanism is likely to be relevant in the induction of immunotolerance, particularly in allergic diseases.
PMCID: PMC2222968  PMID: 18162042

Results 1-5 (5)