Reversal of airway hyper-responsiveness by induction of airway mucosal CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells.

Deborah Strickland, Philip Stumbles, Graeme Zosky, L.S. Subrata, J.A. Thomas, Debra Turner, Peter Sly, Patrick Holt

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170 Citations (Scopus)


An important feature of atopic asthma is the T cell-driven late phase reaction involving transient bronchoconstriction followed by development of airways hyperresponsiveness (AHR). Using a unique rat asthma model we recently showed that the onset and duration of the aeroallergen-induced airway mucosal T cell activation response in sensitized rats is determined by the kinetics of functional maturation of resident airway mucosal dendritic cells (AMDCs) mediated by cognate interactions with CD4(+) T helper memory cells. The study below extends these investigations to chronic aeroallergen exposure. We demonstrate that prevention of ensuing cycles of T cell activation and resultant AHR during chronic exposure of sensitized rats to allergen aerosols is mediated by CD4(+) CD25(+) Foxp3(+) LAG3(+) CTLA(+) CD45RC(+) T cells which appear in the airway mucosa and regional lymph nodes within 24 h of initiation of exposure, and inhibit subsequent Th-mediated upregulation of AMDC functions. These cells exhibit potent regulatory T (T reg) cell activity in both in vivo and ex vivo assay systems. The maintenance of protective T reg activity is absolutely dependent on continuing allergen stimulation, as interruption of exposure leads to waning of T reg activity and reemergence of sensitivity to aeroallergen exposure manifesting as AMDC/T cell upregulation and resurgence of T helper 2 cytokine expression, airways eosinophilia, and AHR.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2649-60
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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