Skip to main content
  • Oral presentation
  • Open access
  • Published:

Regulatory T cells in transplantation - from preclinical models to clinical study

After exposure to alloantigen in vivo and in vitro, alloantigen reactive immunoregulatory activity is enriched in a population of CD4+ T cells that express high levels of CD25, the α chain of the interleukin-2 receptor, and the transcription factor FOXP3. In vivo, common mechanisms underpin the activity of CD25+CD4+ Treg in adult hosts. We identified a unique role for IFNγ in the functional activity of CD25+CD4+ alloantigen reactive Treg during the development of operational tolerance to donor alloantigens in vivo that is consistent with observations showing that tolerance to alloantigens cannot be induced in the absence of IFNγ [1]. In order to provide proof of concept data for translation of findings in preclinical models to the bedside, we have demonstrated that human regulatory T cells expanded ex vivo can protect human allografts (skin and vessels) from rejection [2, 3].

The identification and characterisation of Treg that can control immune responsiveness to alloantigens has opened up exciting opportunities for new therapies in transplantation.


  1. Sawitzki B, Kingsley CI, Oliveira V, Karim M, Herber M, Wood KJ: Interferon gamma production by alloantigen reactive CD25+CD4+ regulatory T cells is important for their regulatory function in vivo. Journal of Experimental Medicine. 2005, 201: 1925-1935. 10.1084/jem.20050419.

    Article  PubMed Central  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Nadig SN, Wieckiewicz J, Wu DC, Warnecke G, Zhang W, Luo S, et al: In vivo prevention of transplant arteriosclerosis by ex vivo-expanded human regulatory T cells. Nat Med. 2010, 16 (7): 809-813. 10.1038/nm.2154.

    Article  PubMed Central  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Issa F, Hester J, Goto R, Nadig SN, Goodacre T, Wood K: Ex vivo-expanded human regulatory T cells prevent the rejection of skin allografts in a humanised mouse model. Transplantation. 2010, 90: 1321-1327. 10.1097/TP.0b013e3181ff8772.

    Article  PubMed Central  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Wood, K. Regulatory T cells in transplantation - from preclinical models to clinical study. Arthritis Res Ther 13 (Suppl 2), O4 (2011).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: