CD4+CD25+ regulatory T (Treg) cells suppress naive T cell responses, prevent autoimmunity, and delay allograft rejection. It is not known, however, whether Treg cells suppress allograft rejection mediated by memory T cells, as the latter mount faster and stronger immune responses than their naive counterparts. Here we show that antigen-induced, but not naive, Treg cells suppress allograft rejection mediated by memory CD8+ T cells. Suppression was allospecific, as Treg cells induced by third-party antigens did not delay allograft rejection. In vivo and in vitro analyses revealed that the apoptosis of allospecific memory CD8+ T cells is significantly increased in the presence of antigen-induced Treg cells, while their proliferation remains unaffected. Importantly, neither suppression of allograft rejection nor enhanced apoptosis of memory CD8+ T cells was observed when Treg cells lacked CD30 or when CD30 ligand–CD30 interaction was blocked with anti–CD30 ligand Ab. This study therefore provides direct evidence that pathogenic memory T cells are amenable to suppression in an antigen-specific manner and identifies CD30 as a molecule that is critical for the regulation of memory T cell responses.
Zhenhua Dai, Qi Li, Yinong Wang, Ge Gao, Lonnette S. Diggs, George Tellides, Fadi G. Lakkis