Kidney Int. 2011 May .

Endogenous foxp3(+) T-regulatory cells suppress anti-glomerular basement membrane nephritis.

Ooi JD, Snelgrove SL, Engel DR, Hochheiser K, Ludwig-Portugall I, Nozaki Y, O\'Sullivan KM, Hickey MJ, Holdsworth SR, Kurts C, Kitching AR

Foxp3(+) T-regulatory cells (Tregs) may suppress pathogenic inflammation; however, although transferred Tregs lessen glomerulonephritis in mice, the role of endogenous foxp3(+) cells is not known. To study this, we characterized endogenous foxp3(+) cells in accelerated anti-glomerular basement membrane (GBM) nephritis by using foxp3(GFP) reporter mice to track their responses in early and established disease. Further, diphtheria toxin was used to ablate foxp3(+) Tregs in foxp3(DTR) mice after establishing an immune response. In this model, mice were immunized with sheep globulin in adjuvant, and sheep anti-mouse GBM globulin was injected after 4 days to initiate progressive histological and functional injury. Intrarenal leukocytic infiltrates were increased by day 3 but intrarenal foxp3(+) Tregs, present in interstitial and periglomerular areas, were only increased at day 7. Ablation of foxp3(+) Tregs after injection of anti-GBM globulin increased renal injury and systemic T-cell responses, including increased interferon-γ and interleukin-17A (IL-17A) production, but no change in antibody titers. Compared with foxp3(+) Tregs isolated from naive mice, those from immunized mice produced more IL-10 and more effectively regulated CD4(+)foxp3(-) responder T cells. Thus, endogenous foxp3(+) Tregs infiltrate the kidney in glomerulonephritis, and deleting foxp3(+) cells after the induction of immune responses upregulated T-cell reactions and enhanced disease. Hence, endogenous foxp3(+) cells have increased suppressive capacity after immune stimuli.