We have previously shown that Ag-specific IL-10-producing regulatory T cells (Tr1) participate in the regulation of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis and that their specificity undergoes determinant spread in a reciprocal manner to effector T cell specificity. The current study shows that coadministration of plasmid DNA vaccines encoding IL-10 together with a plasmid encoding a myelin basic protein (MBP) encephalitogenic determinant during an ongoing disease rapidly amplifies this Tr1-mediated response, in a disease-specific manner. Thus, coadministration of both plasmids, but not the plasmid DNA encoding MBP alone, rapidly suppresses an ongoing disease. Tolerance included elevation in Ag-specific T cells producing IL-10 and an increase in apoptosis of cells around high endothelial venules in the CNS after successful therapy. Tolerance could be transferred by MBP-specific primary T cells isolated from protected donors and reversed by neutralizing Abs to IL-10 but not to IL-4. Due to the nature of determinant spread in this model, we could bring about evidence implying that rapid and effective induction of Tr1-induced active tolerance is dependent on redirecting the Tr1 response to the epitope to which the effector function dominates the response at a given time. The consequences of these findings to multiple sclerosis, and possibly other inflammatory autoimmune diseases are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy