Human CD4+CD25+ T cells derived from the majority of atopic donors are able to suppress TH1 and TH2 cytokine production

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2003 Apr;111(4):862-8. doi: 10.1067/mai.2003.1412.


Background: Recently, it has been established that CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells with regulatory capacity are present in human peripheral blood, inhibiting allogeneic proliferation and cytokine production of preactivated CD4(+)CD25(-) respond-er T cells.

Objective: The aim of this study was to analyze in an allergen-specific setting whether such regulatory CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells also exist and function normally in atopic individuals, especially concerning the inhibition of T(H)2 cytokines.

Methods: For this purpose, CD4(+)CD25(-) or CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells from donors allergic to grass or birch pollen (mainly with rhinitis) or from healthy nonatopic donors were stimulated in the presence of autologous, mature, monocyte-derived, allergen-pulsed dendritic cells, and the preactivated CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells were added to CD4(+)CD25(-) T cells during restimulation.

Results: CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells from the nonatopic donors and from the majority of the patients investigated proliferated poorly, produced fewer cytokines, and inhibited the proliferation and T(H)1 (IFN-gamma) and T(H)2 (IL-4 and IL-5) cytokine production of CD4(+)CD25(-) T cells but not IL-10 production. The suppression of CD4(+)CD25(-) T cells by CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells was at least partially antigen unspecific and not reversible with anti-IL-10, anti-transforming growth factor beta, or anti-cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 mAb but was reversible with IL-2. In some atopic patients preactivated CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells reproducibly showed strong proliferative responses, produced higher amounts of IL-4 and IL-10 than CD4(+)CD25(-) T cells, and suppressed only the IFN-gamma production of CD4(+)CD25(-) T cells.

Conclusion: These data indicate that regulatory CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells are present and functional in most atopic patients with allergic rhinitis and are able to inhibit T(H)1, as well as T(H)2, cytokine production.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abatacept
  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation / physiology
  • CD4 Antigens / analysis*
  • CTLA-4 Antigen
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Immunoconjugates*
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Interleukin-10 / physiology
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / analysis*
  • Th1 Cells / immunology*
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / physiology


  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation
  • CD4 Antigens
  • CTLA-4 Antigen
  • CTLA4 protein, human
  • Cytokines
  • Immunoconjugates
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Interleukin-10
  • Abatacept