Quantification of CD4(+) T Cell Alloreactivity and Its Control by Regulatory T Cells Using Time-Lapse Microscopy and Immune Synapse Detection.
Juvet SC., Sanderson S., Hester J., Wood KJ., Bushell A.
Assays designed to select transplant recipients for immunosuppression withdrawal have met with limited success, perhaps because they measure events downstream of T cell-alloantigen interactions. Using in vitro time-lapse microscopy in a mouse transplant model, we investigated whether transplant outcome would result in changes in the proportion of CD4(+) T cells forming prolonged interactions with donor dendritic cells. By blocking CD4-MHC class II and CD28-B7 interactions, we defined immunologically relevant interactions as those ≥500 s. Using this threshold, T cell-dendritic cell (T-DC) interactions were examined in rejection, tolerance and T cell control mediated by regulatory T cells. The frequency of T-DC contacts ≥500 s increased with T cells from mice during acute rejection and decreased with T cells from mice rendered unresponsive to alloantigen. Regulatory T cells reduced prolonged T-DC contacts. Importantly, this effect was replicated with human polyclonally expanded naturally occurring regulatory T cells, which we have previously shown can control rejection of human tissues in humanized mouse models. Finally, in a proof-of-concept translational context, we were able to visualize differential allogeneic immune synapse formation in polyclonal CD4(+) T cells using high-throughput imaging flow cytometry.