Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)

Prolonged PD1 Expression on Neonatal Vδ2 Lymphocytes Dampens Proinflammatory Responses: Role of Epigenetic Regulation.

PMID 27474072


A successful pregnancy depends on the maintenance of tolerance at the fetal-maternal interface; strong inflammation in the placental bed is generally associated with adverse fetal outcomes. Among the mechanisms that foster tolerance and limit inflammation, the fetal immune system favors Th2 or regulatory responses over Th1 responses. The unintended consequence of this functional program is high susceptibility to infections. Human Vδ2 T cells mount innate-like responses to a broad range of microorganisms and are poised for Th1 responses before birth. In infants they likely play a key role in protection against pathogens by exerting early Th1 effector functions, improving function of other innate cells, and promoting Th1 polarization of adaptive responses. However, their propensity to release Th1 mediators may require careful regulation during fetal life to avoid exaggerated proinflammatory responses. We investigated molecules with the potential to act as a rheostat for fetal Vδ2 cells. Programmed death 1 (PD1) is a negative regulator of T cell responses and a determinant of tolerance, particularly at the fetal-maternal interface. Neonatal Vδ2 cells upregulate PD1 shortly after activation and, unlike their adult counterparts, express this molecule for at least 28 d. Engagement of PD1 by one of its ligands, PDL1, effectively dampens TCR-mediated responses (TNF-α production and degranulation) by neonatal Vδ2 cells and may thus help maintain their activity within safe limits. PD1 expression by neonatal Vδ2 cells is inversely associated with promoter DNA methylation. Prolonged PD1 expression may be part of a functional program to control Vδ2 cell inflammatory responses during fetal life.