A key role for TGF-beta signaling to T cells in the long-term acceptance of allografts.
Daley SR., Ma J., Adams E., Cobbold SP., Waldmann H.
TGF-beta is a key immunoregulatory cytokine which supports self-tolerance by signaling to T cells. In this report, we show a crucial role for TGF-beta signaling to T cells in enabling the long-term acceptance of allografts, whether natural or induced therapeutically by coreceptor and costimulation blockade. The requirement for TGF-beta appears most pronounced during the initial exposure to alloantigens. We demonstrate the ability of TGF-beta to direct the development in vitro of regulatory cells that suppress graft rejection in vivo. Such suppression was not affected by anti-TGF-beta treatment of the recipient mice. Despite this, TGF-beta may still have a role in CD4+ cell-mediated suppression of antiallograft responses in vivo, since its neutralization can, in some cases, abrogate suppression. These results show that TGF-beta signaling to T cells is dispensable for mounting destructive responses against skin allografts while appearing to be an essential intermediary in establishing long-term tolerance.