TCR transgenic CD8+ T cells activated in the presence of TGFβ express FoxP3 and mediate linked suppression of primary immune responses and cardiac allograft rejection

Academic Article


  • Although CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ regulatory T cells play a role in allograft tolerance, the role of CD8+ cells with immunosuppressive function is less clear. To address this issue, spleen cells from Rag-1-deficient TCR transgenic (Tg) mice expressing a receptor for ovalbumin (OVA) in the context of MHC class I (OT1) were activated with OVA expressing antigen-presenting cell (APC) in the presence or absence of exogenous transforming growth factor β (TGFβ). TGFβ inhibited the expression of IFN-γ, granzyme B and the lytic activity of the OT1 T cells while inducing FoxP3 expression in 5-15% of the cells. By contrast, FoxP3 expression was not detected in naive OT-1 T cells or OT-1 T cells activated without exogenous TGFβ. TGFβ-activated OT1 cells inhibited the activation of Kd-specific CD8+ CTL responses by normal B6 T cells and the proliferation by Kd-specific CD4+ TCR Tg T cells, but only if the OVA epitope was co-expressed by Kd+ APC. This antigen-specific inhibitory activity, referred to as linked suppression, was neither mediated by residual lytic activity within the activated OT1 T cells nor did it depend upon IL-10 or TGFβ. Suppression correlated with inhibition of CD86 expression on CD11c+ APC. TGFβ-activated OT1 T cells also delayed the rejection of heterotopic, vascularized cardiac allografts mediated by anti-Kd-specific CD4+ TCR Tg T cells, but only if the cardiac allograft expressed both OVA and Kd as transgenes. Prolonged survival of allografts was associated with rapid migration of the FoxP3+ OT1 T cells into the donor heart raising the possibility that suppression may be mediated within the allograft. These data show that TGFβ-activated CD8+ T cells mediate antigen-specific, APC-focused patterns of suppression in vitro and in vivo. © 2006 Oxford University Press.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kapp JA; Honjo K; Kapp LM; Xu XY; Cozier A; Bucy RP
  • Start Page

  • 1549
  • End Page

  • 1562
  • Volume

  • 18
  • Issue

  • 11