Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from AACI and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research

TSLP directly impairs pulmonary Treg function: association with aberrant tolerogenic immunity in asthmatic airway

Khoa D Nguyen, Christopher Vanichsarn and Kari C Nadeau*

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology 2010, 6:4  doi:10.1186/1710-1492-6-4

Published: 15 March 2010

Abstract

Background

Even though thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) has been implicated in the development of allergic inflammation, its influence on immune tolerance mediated by regulatory T cells (Treg) have not been explored. We aimed to dissect the influence of TSLP on immunosuppressive activities of Treg and its potential consequences in human allergic asthma.

Methods

In vitro culture system was utilized to study the effects of TSLP on human Treg. The functional competency of pulmonary Treg from a cohort of 15 allergic asthmatic, 15 healthy control, and 15 non-allergic asthmatic subjects was also evaluated by suppression assays and flow cytometric analysis.

Results

Activated pulmonary Treg expressed TSLP-R and responded to TSLP-mediated activation of STAT5. TSLP directly and selectively impaired IL-10 production of Treg and inhibited their suppressive activity. In human allergic asthma, pulmonary Treg exhibited a significant decrease in suppressive activity and IL-10 production compared to healthy control and non-allergic asthmatic counterparts. These functional alterations were associated with elevated TSLP expression in bronchoaveolar lavage fluid (BAL) of allergic asthmatic subjects. Furthermore, allergic asthmatic BAL could suppress IL-10 production by healthy control pulmonary Treg in a TSLP-dependent manner.

Conclusions

These results provide the first evidences for a direct role of TSLP in the regulation of suppressive activities of Treg. TSLP mediated inhibition of Treg function might present a novel pathologic mechanism to dampen tolerogenic immune responses in inflamed asthmatic airway.