A dual action of rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblast IL-15 expression on the equilibrium between CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells and CD4+CD25- responder T cells

Marta Benito-Miguel, Yolanda García-Carmona, Alejandro Balsa, Carlos Pérez De Ayala, Tatiana Cobo-Ibáñez, Emilio Martín-Mola, María Eugenia Miranda-Carús

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46 Scopus citations

Abstract

We previously described that fibroblast-like cells from the synovium of rheumatoid arthritis patients (RASFib) constitutively express intracellular and surface IL-15, which induces activation of cocultured T cells. Our objective was to study the effect of RASFib IL-15 expression on the function of human CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells (Treg). RASFib, through their constitutive IL-15 expression, were able to induce the proliferation of human Tregs stimulated through their TCR, and at the same time potentiated their suppressive action on the cytokine secretion of CD4+CD25- responder T cells (Tresp). In parallel, constitutive RASFib IL-15 expression mediated an up-regulated response of Tresp. Subsequently, total CD4+ T cells, containing natural proportions of Treg and Tresp, secreted an increased amount of pathogenic cytokines when cocultured with RASFib despite the presence of proliferating Treg with superior regulatory potency. In summary, RASFib IL-15 exerts a dual action on the equilibrium between Treg and Tresp by potentiating the suppressive effect of Treg while augmenting the proinflammatory action of Tresp; the result is a shift of the Treg/Tresp balance toward a proinflammatory state. This alteration of the Treg/Tresp equilibrium is not observed in the presence of osteoarthritis synovial fibroblasts or dermal fibroblasts, which do not constitutively express surface IL-15. Additionally, Treg with superior suppressive potency were present in the peripheral blood and the synovial fluid of RA patients, but this enhanced immunoregulatory activity was not able to overcome the increased secretion of pathogenic cytokines by RA-Tresp, indicating that rheumatoid arthritis patients demonstrate an altered Treg/Tresp equilibrium in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8268-8279
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Immunology
Volume183
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes

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