Increased numbers and suppressive activity of regulatory CD25+CD4+ T lymphocytes in the absence of CD4 engagement by MHC class II molecules

Xiaoli Shen, Chun Niu, Rolf König

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Mechanisms of central and peripheral tolerance prevent autoimmunity. Regulatory T cells inhibit the activation of potentially auto-reactive T cells in peripheral lymphoid organs. In transgenic mice in which all MHC class II molecules are incapable of binding to CD4, class II MHC-restricted T cells preferentially differentiated into immunosuppressive, regulatory T cells. In these mutant MHC class II transgenic mice, a subset of CD4+ T cells constitutively expressed moderately elevated levels of CD25 and potently inhibited interleukin-2 secretion by T cells from normal mice in a cell-to-cell, contact-dependent manner. Immunosuppressive activity depended on activation of the regulatory T cells. Thus, CD25+CD4+ T cells from mutant MHC class II transgenic mice resembled phenotypically and functionally a major subset of natural regulatory T cells in normal mice, but were two to three-times more abundant. These results further clarify the mechanisms that govern the differentiation and maintenance of CD25+CD4+ regulatory T cells, and present avenues for immunomodulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-128
Number of pages12
JournalCellular Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2013


  • Aging mice
  • CD25
  • CD4-MHC class II interactions
  • CD95
  • Effector/memory T cells
  • Immunosuppression
  • Naïve T cells
  • Regulatory T cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

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