Murine autoimmune gastritis, induced by neonatal thymectomy or the injection of CD25-depleted lymphocytes into nu/nu recipients, is characterized by an inflammatory infiltrate into the gastric mucosa, parietal cell destruction and circulating anti-parietal cell antibodies. Using RAG-2(-/-)mice as recipients, we determined that the induction of disease relies on CD4(+)CD25(-)effector cells and prevention relies on CD4(+)CD25(+)regulatory cells; neither requires participation of CD8 cells or B cells. The severity of gastritis was dependent on the cytokine repertoire of CD4(+)CD25(-)effector T cells. Recipients of IL-4(-/-)T cells developed more severe gastritis and recipients of INF-gamma(-/-)T cells developed milder disease than recipients of wildtype or IL-10(-/-)effector T cells. Gastritis did not develop in the absence of IL-12. Protection from gastritis does not require either IL-4 or IL-10 because CD4(+)CD25(+)cells from IL-4(-/-)or IL-10(-/-)mice completely abrogated the disease process. CD4(+)CD25(+)cells also protected RAG-2(-/-)recipients from colitis and inhibitory activity was partially dependent on IL-10 expression. These findings highlight the critical role of CD4(+)CD25(+)regulatory T cells in protection from several autoimmune syndromes and delineate the differential contribution of IL-10 to CD4(+)CD25(+)Treg activity in the settings of gastritis and colitis.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.