Induction and maintenance of Ag-specific tolerance are pivotal for immune homeostasis, prevention of autoimmune disorders, and the goal of transplantation. Recent studies suggest that certain cytokines, notably IL-10 and TGF-β, may play a role in down-regulating immune functions. To further examine the role of cytokines in Ag-specific hyporesponsiveness, murine CD4+ T cells were exposed ex vivo to alloantigen-bearing stimulators in the presence of exogenous IL-10 and/or TGF-β. Primary but not secondary alloantigen proliferative responses were inhibited by IL-10 alone. However, the combined addition of IL-10 + TGF-β markedly induced alloantigen hyporesponsiveness in both primary and secondary MLR cultures. Alloantigen- specific hyporesponsiveness was observed also under conditions in which nominal Ag responses were intact. In adoptive transfer experiments, IL-10 + TGF-β-treated CD4+ T cells, but not T cells treated with either cytokine alone, were markedly impaired in inducing graft-vs-host disease alloresponses to MHC class H disparate recipients. These data provide the first formal evidence that IL-10 and TGF-β have at least an additive effect in inducing alloantigen-specific tolerance, and that in vitro cytokines can be exploited to suppress CD4+ T cell-mediated Ag-specific responses in vivo.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of Immunology|
|State||Published - Oct 1 1999|