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Regulatory T cells play a role in T-cell receptor CDR2 peptide regulation of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

Buenafe, AC;Andrew, S;Offner, H;Vandenbark, AA;

Eliciting T-cell receptor (TCR) -specific responsiveness has been known to provide an effective autoregulatory mechanism for limiting inflammation mediated by T effector cells. Our previous use of TCR peptides derived from the CDR3 regions of a pathogenic TCR effectively reversed ongoing experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in a humanized TCR transgenic model. In this study, we use the TCR BV8S2 CDR2 peptide in the non-transgenic C57BL/6 EAE model to down-regulate the heterogeneous TCR BV8S2(+) MOG-35-55-specific pathogenic T-cell population and demonstrate successful treatment of EAE after disease onset. Suppression of disease was associated with reduced MOG-35-55-specific and non-specific T-cell production of interleukin-17a and interferon- in the central nervous system, as well as reduced numbers of CD4(+) and Foxp3(+) T cells in the central nervous system. With the use of Foxp3-GFP and Foxp3 conditional knockout mice, we demonstrate that the TCR CDR2 peptide treatment effect is dependent on the presence of Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells and that regulatory T cell numbers are significantly expanded in the periphery of treated mice. Hence, TCR CDR2 peptide therapy is effective in regulating heterogeneous, pathogenic T-cell populations through the activity of the Foxp3(+) regulatory T cell population.