The molecules and mechanisms pertinent to the low immunogenicity of undifferentiated embryonic stem cells (ESCs) remain poorly understood. Here, we provide evidence that milk fat globule epidermal growth factor 8 (MFG-E8) is a vital mediator in this phenomenon and directly suppresses T cell immune responses. MFG-E8 is enriched in undifferentiated ESCs but diminished in differentiated ESCs. Upregulation of MFG-E8 in ESCs increases the successful engraftment of both undifferentiated and differentiated ESCs across major histocompatibility complex barriers. MFG-E8 suppresses T cell activation/proliferation and inhibits Th1, Th2, and Th17 subpopulations while increasing regulatory T cell subsets. Neutralizing MFG-E8 substantially abrogates these effects, whereas addition of recombinant MFG-E8 to differentiated ESCs restores immunosuppression. Furthermore, we provide the evidence that MFG-E8 suppresses T cell activation and regulates T cell polarization by inhibiting PKCθ phosphorylation through the α3/5βV integrin receptor. Our findings offer an approach to facilitate transplantation acceptance.
Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.