Neuroprotective activities of CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells in an animal model of Parkinson's disease

Author(s): Reynolds AD, Banerjee R, Liu J, Gendelman HE, Mosley RL

Abstract

Progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta and their terminal connections in the striatum are central features in Parkinson's disease (PD). Emerging evidence supports the notion that microglia neuroinflammatory responses speed neurodegenerative events. We demonstrated previously that this can be slowed by adoptive transfer of T cells from Copolymer-1-immunized mice administered to 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) recipients. The cellular basis for this neuroprotective response was the CD4+ T cell population, suggesting involvement of CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells (Tregs), cells known to suppress immune activation and maintain immune homeostasis and tolerance. We show for the first time that adoptive transfer of CD3-activated Tregs to MPTP-intoxicated mice provides greater than 90% protection of the nigrostriatal system. The response was dose-dependent and paralleled modulation of microglial responses and up-regulation of glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor (CDNF) and TGF-beta. Interestingly, that adoptive transfer of effector T cells showed no significant neuroprotective activities. Tregs were found to mediate neuroprotection through suppression of microglial responses to stimuli, including aggregated, nitrated alpha-synuclein. Moreover, Treg-mediated suppression was also operative following removal of Tregs from culture prior to stimulation. This neuroprotection was achieved through modulation of microglial oxidative stress and inflammation. As Tregs can be modulated in vivo, these data strongly support the use of such immunomodulatory strategies to treat PD.

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