CTLA-4 x Ig converts naive CD4+CD25- T cells into CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells.Int Immunol. 2008 Apr; 20(4):471-83.II
CTLA-4 x Ig was originally designed as an immunosuppressive agent capable of interfering with the co-stimulation of T cells. In the present study, we demonstrate that CTLA-4 x Ig, in combination with TCR ligation, has the additional capacity to convert naive CD4+CD25- T cells into Foxp3+ regulatory T (T(reg)) cells, as well as to expand their numbers. The CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ T(reg) generated by CTLA-4 x Ig treatment in vitro potently suppress effector T cells. Extending this in vivo, we show that systemic administration of CTLA-4 x Ig increases the percentage of CD4+CD25(hi)Foxp3+ cells within mixed lymphocyte reaction-induced murine lymph nodes. Significantly, the in vitro conversion of naive CD4+CD25- T cells into T(reg) cells is antigen-presenting cell (APC) dependent. This finding, together with the further observation that this conversion can also be driven in vitro by an antibody that engages B7-2 ligand, suggests that CTLA-4 x Ig-driven T(reg) induction may be predicated upon active CTLA-4 x Ig to B7-2 signaling within APC, which elicits from them T(reg)-inducing potential. These findings extend CTLA-4 x Ig's functional repertoire, and at the same time, reinforce the concept that T cell anergy and active suppression are not entirely distinct processes and may be linked by some common molecular triggers.