Regulatory CD4+ CD25+ T cells dampen inflammatory disease in murine mycoplasma pneumonia and promote IL-17 and IFN-γ Responses

Adam N. Odeh, Jerry W. Simecka

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10 Scopus citations


Mycoplasmas cause respiratory diseases characterized by persistent infection and chronic airway inflammation. Mycoplasma lung disease is immunopathologic, with CD4+ Th cells determining both disease severity and resistance to infection. Th2 cell responses promote immunopathology, while Th1 cells confer resistance to infection. However, regulatory CD4+ T cells may also have a role in the pathogenesis of mycoplasma respiratory diseases. We hypothesized Treg cells control the severity of the inflammatory lesions and may also promote persistence of infection. To examine this, BALB/c mice were depleted of CD25+ cells, and had increased disease severity due to Mycoplasma pulmonis infection. Increases in mycoplasma antibody responses and lymphocyte infiltration into lungs also occurred after CD25+ cell depletion. CD4+ CD25+ regulatory T cells promoted IFN-ã and IL-17 mycoplasma-specific CD4+ T cell responses in vitro and in vivo, while dampening IL-13+ Th responses. Neither IL-10 nor TGF-β expression was detected in CD4+ CD25+ T cells from lymph nodes. Thus, a regulatory T cell population plays an important role in controlling damaging immune responses in mycoplasma respiratory disease but does not contribute to persistence of infection. It appears that a regulatory T cell population preferentially dampens Th2 cell-mediated inflammatory responses to mycoplasma through a mechanism independent of IL-10 or TGF-β characteristic of "classic" Treg cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0155648
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2016


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