• FoxP3+ regulatory T cells essentially contribute to peripheral CD8+ T-cell tolerance induced by steady-state dendritic cells.

      Schildknecht, Anita; Brauer, Sabine; Brenner, Corinne; Lahl, Katharina; Schild, Hansjörg; Sparwasser, Tim; Probst, Hans Christian; van den Broek, Maries; TWINCORE, Centre for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research GmbH, Feodor-Lynen-Str. 3-7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2010-01-05)
      Peripheral T-cell tolerance is thought to significantly contribute to the prevention of autoimmunity, and it has been shown that antigen-presenting steady-state dendritic cells efficiently induce peripheral tolerance. We previously showed that dendritic-cell-induced tolerance is a T-cell-intrinsic process that depends on coinhibitory molecules such as programmed death-1. Here we specifically analyze the involvement of FoxP3(+) regulatory T cells, which are known to be important for maintenance of self-tolerance. We show that antigen presentation by steady-state dendritic cells failed to induce peripheral tolerance in the absence of FoxP3(+) regulatory T cells but induced protective CD8(+) T-cell-mediated immunity instead. Regulatory T-cell-depleted mice had massively increased numbers of dendritic cells in lymph nodes. Dendritic cells isolated from mice without regulatory T cells had up-regulated costimulatory molecules and showed stronger T-cell stimulatory capacity ex vivo, suggesting that regulatory T cells contribute to peripheral tolerance by keeping the dendritic cells in an immature state. Using blocking antibodies, we demonstrate that CTLA-4 but not IL-10 is necessary for control of dendritic cells by regulatory T cells.
    • Langerhans cells protect from allergic contact dermatitis in mice by tolerizing CD8(+) T cells and activating Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells.

      Gomez de Agüero, Mercedes; Vocanson, Marc; Hacini-Rachinel, Fériel; Taillardet, Morgan; Sparwasser, Tim; Kissenpfennig, Adrien; Malissen, Bernard; Kaiserlian, Dominique; Dubois, Bertrand; INSERM, U851, Lyon, France. (2012-05-01)
      Allergic contact dermatitis is the most frequent occupational disease in industrialized countries. It is caused by CD8(+) T cell-mediated contact hypersensitivity (CHS) reactions triggered at the site of contact by a variety of chemicals, also known as weak haptens, present in fragrances, dyes, metals, preservatives, and drugs. Despite the myriad of potentially allergenic substances that can penetrate the skin, sensitization is relatively rare and immune tolerance to the substance is often induced by as yet poorly understood mechanisms. Here we show, using the innocuous chemical 2,4-dinitrothiocyanobenzene (DNTB), that cutaneous immune tolerance in mice critically depends on epidermal Langerhans cells (LCs), which capture DNTB and migrate to lymph nodes for direct presentation to CD8(+) T cells. Depletion and adoptive transfer experiments revealed that LCs conferred protection from development of CHS by a mechanism involving both anergy and deletion of allergen-specific CD8(+) T cells and activation of a population of T cells identified as ICOS(+)CD4(+)Foxp3(+) Tregs. Our findings highlight the critical role of LCs in tolerance induction in mice to the prototype innocuous hapten DNTB and suggest that strategies targeting LCs might be valuable for prevention of cutaneous allergy.
    • Regulatory T cells control tolerogenic versus autoimmune response to sperm in vasectomy.

      Wheeler, Karen; Tardif, Steve; Rival, Claudia; Luu, Brian; Bui, Elise; Del Rio, Roxana; Teuscher, Cory; Sparwasser, Tim; Hardy, Daniel; Tung, Kenneth S K; et al. (2011-05-03)
      Vasectomy is a well accepted global contraceptive approach frequently associated with epididymal granuloma and sperm autoantibody formation. To understand the long-term sequelae of vasectomy, we investigated the early immune response in vasectomized mice. Vasectomy leads to rapid epithelial cell apoptosis and necrosis, persistent inflammation, and sperm granuloma formation in the epididymis. Vasectomized B6AF1 mice did not mount autoimmune response but instead developed sperm antigen-specific tolerance, documented as resistance to immunization-induced experimental autoimmune orchitis (EAO) but not experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Strikingly, tolerance switches over to pathologic autoimmune state following concomitant CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) regulatory T cell (Treg) depletion: unilaterally vasectomized mice produce dominant autoantibodies to an orchitogenic antigen (zonadhesin), and develop CD4 T-cell- and antibody-dependent bilateral autoimmune orchitis. Therefore, (i) Treg normally prevents spontaneous organ-specific autoimmunity induction by persistent endogenous danger signal, and (ii) autoantigenic stimulation with sterile autoinflammation can lead to tolerance. Finally, postvasectomy tolerance occurs in B6AF1, C57BL/6, and A/J strains. However, C57BL/6 mice resisted EAO after 60% Treg depletion, but developed EAO after 97% Treg reduction. Therefore, variance in intrinsic Treg function--a possible genetic trait--can influence the divergent tolerogenic versus autoimmune response to vasectomy.