Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)

JNK2 regulates the functional plasticity of naturally occurring T regulatory cells and the enhancement of lung allergic responses.

PMID 25070841


Glucocorticoid-induced TNFR family-related protein (GITR)-mediated activation of JNK was shown to regulate the suppressive activity of CD4(+)CD25(+) naturally occurring T regulatory cells (nTregs) in wild-type (WT) hosts. In this study, CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells were shown to be capable of becoming pathogenic effector cells in sensitized and challenged CD8(-/-) recipient mice. Only GITR-expressing CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells, but neither GITR knocked-in CD4(+)CD25(-) T cells nor GITR-silenced CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells, enhanced development of lung allergic responses. Inhibition of JNK in WT nTregs or nTregs from GITR(-/-)and JNK2(-/-) mice failed to enhance lung allergic responses in sensitized and challenged CD8(-/-) recipient mice. The failure to enhance responses was associated with increased bronchoalveolar lavage fluid levels of IL-10 and TGF-β and decreased levels of IL-5, IL-6, and IL-13. In contrast, nTregs from JNK1(-/-) mice, similar to WT nTregs, were fully effective in enhancing responses. Thus, GITR stimulation of nTregs and signaling through JNK2, but not JNK1, triggered the loss of regulatory function while concomitantly gaining pathogenic CD4(+) T effector cell function responsible for exacerbating asthma-like immunopathology.