Regulatory CD4+Foxp3+ T cells (Treg) restrain inflammation and immunity. However, the mechanisms underlying Treg suppressor function in inflamed non-lymphoid tissues remain largely unexplored. Here, we restricted immune responses to non-lymphoid tissues and used intravital microscopy to visualize Treg suppression of rejection by effector T cells (Teff) within inflamed allogeneic islet transplants. Despite their elevated motility, Treg preferentially contact antigen-presenting cells (APCs) over Teff. Interestingly, Treg specifically target APCs that are extensively and simultaneously contacted by Teff. In turn, Treg decrease MHC-II expression on APCs and hinder Teff function. Lastly, we demonstrate that Treg suppressor function within inflamed allografts requires ecto-nucleotidase CD73 activity, which generates the anti-inflammatory adenosine. Consequently, CD73-/- Treg exhibit reduced contacts with APCs within inflamed allografts compared to wt Treg, but not in spleen. Overall, our findings demonstrate that Treg suppress immunity within inflamed grafts through CD73 activity and suggest that Treg-APC direct contacts are central to this process.
Hehua Dai, Andressa Pena, Lynne Bauer, Amanda Williams, Simon c. Watkins, Geoffrey Camirand