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Antigen-dependent Proliferation Of CD4+ CD25+ Regulatory T Cells In Vivo

Lucy S.K. Walker, Anna Chodos, Mark Eggena, Hans Dooms, Abul K. Abbas

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The failure of CD25+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) to proliferate after T cell receptor (TCR) stimulation in vitro has lead to their classification as naturally anergic. Here we use Tregs expressing a transgenic TCR to show that despite anergy in vitro, Tregs proliferate in response to immunization in vivo. Tregs also proliferate and accumulate locally in response to transgenically expressed tissue antigen whereas their CD25− counterparts are depleted at such sites. Collectively, these data suggest that the anergic state that characterizes CD25+ Tregs in vitro may not accurately reflect their responsiveness in vivo. These observations support a model in which Treg population dynamics are shaped by the local antigenic environment.