• Foxp3+ regulatory T cells are required for recovery from severe sepsis.

      Kühlhorn, Franziska; Rath, Matthias; Schmoeckel, Katrin; Cziupka, Katharina; Nguyen, Huu Hung; Hildebrandt, Petra; Hünig, Thomas; Sparwasser, Tim; Huehn, Jochen; Pötschke, Christian; et al. (2013)
      The role of regulatory T cells (Tregs) in bacterial sepsis remains controversial because antibody-mediated depletion experiments gave conflicting results. We employed DEREG mice (DEpletion of REGulatory T cells) and a caecal ligation and puncture model to elucidate the role of CD4(+)Foxp3(+) Tregs in sepsis. In DEREG mice natural Tregs can be visualized easily and selectively depleted by diphtheria toxin because the animals express the diphtheria toxin receptor and enhanced green fluorescent protein as a fusion protein under the control of the foxp3 locus. We confirmed rapid Treg-activation and an increased ratio of Tregs to Teffs in sepsis. Nevertheless, 24 h after sepsis induction, Treg-depleted and control mice showed equally strong inflammation, immune cell immigration into the peritoneum and bacterial dissemination. During the first 36 h of disease survival was not influenced by Treg-depletion. Later, however, only Treg-competent animals recovered from the insult. We conclude that the suppressive capacity of Tregs is not sufficient to control overwhelming inflammation and early mortality, but is a prerequisite for the recovery from severe sepsis.