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In situ prior proliferation of CD4+ CCR6+ regulatory T cells facilitated by TGF-β secreting DCs is crucial for their enrichment and suppression in tumor immunity.

PloS one (2011-06-10)
Lin Xu, Wei Xu, Zhenke Wen, Sidong Xiong
ABSTRACT

CD4(+)CD25(+) regulatory T cells (Tregs), a heterogeneous population, were enrichment in tumor mass and played an important role in modulating anti-tumor immunity. Recently, we reported a Treg subset, CCR6(+) Tregs but not CCR6(-)Tregs, were enriched in tumor mass and closely related to poor prognosis of breast cancer patients. However, the underlying mechanism remains elusive. Here, we carefully evaluate the enrichment of CCR6(+)Tregs in tumor mass during progression of breast cancer and explore its possible mechanism. The frequency of CCR6(+)Tregs in tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs ) was analyzed at early stage and at late stage of tumor in a murine breast cancer model by FACS respectively. The expansion of CCR6(+)Tregs and their CCR6(-) counterpart in tumor mass were determined by BrdU incorporation assay. The effect and its possible mechanism of tumor-resident antigen presenting cells (APCs) on the proliferation of CCR6(+)Tregs also were evaluated. The role of local expansion of CCR6(+)Tregs in their enrichment and suppression in vivo also was evaluated in adoptive cell transfer assay. We found that the prior enrichment of CCR6(+)Tregs but not CCR6(-)Tregs in tumor mass during progression of murine breast cancer, which was dependent on the dominant proliferation of CCR6(+) Tregs in situ. Further study demonstrated that tumor-resident DCs triggered the proliferation of CCR6(+)Treg cells in TGF-β dependent manner. Adoptive transfer of CCR6(+)Tregs was found to potently inhibit the function of CD8(+)T cells in vivo, which was dependent on their proliferation and subsequently enrichment in tumor mass. Our finding suggested that CCR6(+) Tregs, a distinct subset of Tregs, exert its predominant suppressive role in tumor immunity through prior in situ expansion, which might ultimately provide helpful thoughts for the designing of Treg-based immunotherapy for tumor in the future.

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