CD4+CD25+ regulatory T-cells (Tregs) play a critical role in immune responses. We explored the status of Tregs in neoplastic and autoimmune hematologic diseases. We also evaluated the technical aspects of Treg measurement in terms of sample type and detection markers.
A total of 68 subjects were enrolled: 11 with AML, 8 with MDS, 10 with autoimmune diseases, and 39 controls. Tregs were analyzed in peripheral blood (PB) and bone marrow (BM) samples from each subject. Flow cytometry and the Human Regulatory T cell Staining Kit (eBioscience, USA) for CD4, CD25, and FoxP3 (forkhead box P3) were used.
The CD4+CD25high/CD4 and CD4+CD25highFoxP3+/CD4 populations were significantly correlated (P<0.0001). The AML and high-risk MDS groups had significantly larger CD4+CD25high/CD4 and CD4+CD25highFoxP3+/CD4 populations in PB than the autoimmune (P=0.007 and 0.012, respectively) and control groups (P=0.004 and 0.006, respectively). Comparable findings were observed in BM. The CD4+CD25highFoxP3+/CD4 population was significantly larger in PB than in BM (P=0.0003).
This study provides comparison data for Tregs in AML, MDS, and autoimmune hematologic diseases, and would be helpful for understanding the different immunologic bases of various hematologic diseases. Treg measurement using CD4, CD25, and/or FoxP3 in PB rather than in BM seems to be practical for routine hematologic purposes. Large-scale analysis of the diagnostic role of Treg measurement is needed.