Increased regulatory T-cell fraction amidst a diminished CD4 compartment explains cellular immune defects in patients with malignant glioma

Peter E. Fecci, Duane A. Mitchell, John F. Whitesides, Weihua Xie, Allan H. Friedman, Gary E. Archer, James E. Herndon, Darell D. Bigner, Glenn Dranoff, John H. Sampson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

473 Scopus citations

Abstract

Immunosuppression is frequently associated with malignancy and is particularly severe in patients with malignant glioma. Anergy and counterproductive shifts toward TH2 cytokine production are long-recognized T-cell defects in these patients whose etiology has remained elusive for >30 years. We show here that absolute counts of both CD4 + T cells and CD4+CD25+FOXP3 +CD45RO+ T cells (Tregs) are greatly diminished in patients with malignant glioma, but Tregs frequently represent an increased fraction of the remaining CD4 compartment. This increased T reg fraction, despite reduced counts, correlates with and is sufficient to elicit the characteristic manifestations of impaired patient T-cell responsiveness in vitro. Furthermore, Treg removal eradicates T-cell proliferative defects and reverses TH2 cytokine shifts, allowing T cells from patients with malignant glioma to function in vitro at levels equivalent to those of normal, healthy controls. Such restored immune function may give license to physiologic antiglioma activity, as in vivo, T reg depletion proves permissive for spontaneous tumor rejection in a murine model of established intracranial glioma. These findings dramatically alter our understanding of depressed cellular immune function in patients with malignant glioma and advance a role for Tregs in facilitating tumor immune evasion in the central nervous system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3294-3302
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Research
Volume66
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes

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