IL-2-deprivation and TGF-β are two non-redundant suppressor mechanisms of CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cell which jointly restrain CD4+CD25- cell activation

Guohua Wang, Mithun Khattar, Zhiyong Guo, Yoshihiro Miyahara, Sean P. Linkes, Zongquan Sun, Xiaoshun He, Stanislaw M. Stepkowski, Wenhao Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The benefits of immunotherapy by regulatory T (Treg) cells are unpredictable partially due to the uncertainty of their suppressive mechanism. In fact, various suppressive mechanisms have been proposed but each remains controversial. To better understand Treg-mediated suppression, we have investigated factors which may influence the suppressive effects. In an in vitro suppression assay, over-expression of anti-apoptotic Bcl2 enhancing survival of conventional T responder cells (Tconvs) did not subvert Treg-mediated suppression. In contrast, enhancing activation of Tconvs by increasing the potency of calcium signals completely abrogated Treg-mediated suppression. While Tregs were incapable of suppressing already activated Tconvs, they prevented expression of activation markers on naïve Tconvs during activation, thereby indicating that Tregs mediate suppression through controlling early activation stage. Interestingly, IL-2 deprivation or TGF-β, two suppressive mechanisms, did not effectively inhibit Tconv activation and proliferation when applied alone. In contrast, IL-2 deprivation combined with TGF-β suppressed Tconv activation as potently as Tregs. More importantly, in the transwell system, that separates Tregs from Tconvs, TGF-β contributed to Treg suppression under IL-2 depriving condition. In conclusion, these two suppressive mechanisms acting in concert may be necessary to effectively restrain the early activation of Tconvs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-68
Number of pages8
JournalImmunology Letters
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Aug 2010


  • IL-2
  • Regulatory T cell
  • Suppressor mechanism
  • TGF-β

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy

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