Augmented intestinal T cells, especially CD4(+)T cells, are involved in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). We used a murine 2, 4, 6-trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (TNBS)-induced colitis model to investigate whether Tim-3, a negative regulator of CD4(+)T cells, is involved in the suppression of IBD. We found that blocking the Tim-3 signal pathway exacerbated TNBS-induced colitis, as shown by increased weight loss and aggravated tissue injury. Blockade of the Tim-3 pathway resulted in an increase in Tim-3(+)CD4T cells, a biased T effector cell response, and a decrease in Treg cells. It also resulted in an altered profile of co-stimulatory molecules expressed on lymphocytes, which partially explained the biased polarization of different T cell subsets. Our data suggest that the Tim-3 pathway is highly involved in the negative regulation of IBD. A better understanding of this pathway may shed new light on the pathogenesis of this disease.
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