CD4(+) CD25(+) regulatory T cells (T(reg) cells) are an attractive adoptive cell therapy in mediating transplantation tolerance. T-cell receptor (TcR) activation is critical for T(reg) function, suggesting that the TcR avidity of T(reg) cells used in therapy may affect the therapeutic outcome. To address this, we compared the regulatory capacity of T(reg) lines expressing TcRs derived from two TcR transgenic mice shown to have the same specificity but different functional avidities. T(reg) lines generated from CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells from C57BL/6 mice were transduced with one of either of these TcRs. The antigen specificity of the transduced T(reg) lines was confirmed in vitro. T(reg) lines expressing the TcR with higher functional avidity showed stronger suppressive capacity in a linked suppression model in vitro. Furthermore, the same T(reg) lines demonstrated a stronger proliferation in vivo following antigen exposure. Pretreatment of recipient BL/6 mice with these T(reg) cells, together with anti-CD8 antibody and Rapamycin therapies, prolonged survival of BALB/c skins, as compared with mice that received T(reg) lines with lower TcR avidity. Taken together, these data suggest that the TcR functional avidity may be important for T(reg) function. It highlights the fact that strategies to select T(reg) with higher functional avidity might be beneficial for immunotherapy in transplantation.
©2011 The Authors Journal compilation©2011 The American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons.