Gamma-ray resistance of regulatory CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ T cells in mice

Radiat Res. 2010 Feb;173(2):148-57. doi: 10.1667/RR0978.1.


Abstract CD4(+)CD25(+) regulatory T cells (Treg cells) are an important subset of T cells for keeping proper immune responses and tolerance. However, the effects of gamma radiation on CD4(+)CD25(high) Foxp3(+) Treg cells have not been examined previously. In the present study, we compared the sensitivity of mouse CD4(+)CD25(high) Foxp3(+) Treg cells and CD4(+)CD25(-) T cells to gamma radiation in vitro and in vivo. After C57BL/6 mice received a whole-body dose of 5 Gy gamma rays, the numbers of lymphocyte subsets in blood, lymph nodes, spleens and thymuses clearly decreased. However, gamma radiation significantly enhanced the ratios of CD4(+)CD25(high) Treg cells and CD4(+)CD25(high) Foxp3(+) Treg cells to CD4(+) T cells in the blood, lymph nodes, spleens and thymuses of mice. More dead cells were observed in CD4(+)CD25(-) T cells than in CD4(+)CD25(high) Treg cells or CD4(+)CD25(high) Foxp3(+) Treg cells when the cells were irradiated in vitro, indicating that CD4(+)CD25(high) Foxp3(+) Treg cells are more resistant to gamma radiation than other T cells. Moreover, a higher expression of Bcl-2 in CD4(+)CD25(high) Treg cells was detected compared with that in CD4(+)CD25(-) T cells. CD4(+)CD25(+) Treg cells from irradiated mice were functional, though their immunosuppressive ability was somewhat impaired compared to those from nonirradiated mice as determined by an in vitro assay. These results indicate that mouse CD4(+)CD25(+) Treg cells and CD4(+)CD25(-) T effector cells have different sensitivities to gamma radiation in mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD4 Antigens / immunology*
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / immunology*
  • Gamma Rays*
  • Interleukin-2 Receptor alpha Subunit / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism
  • Radiation Tolerance*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / radiation effects*


  • CD4 Antigens
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Foxp3 protein, mouse
  • Interleukin-2 Receptor alpha Subunit
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2