Phenotypic and functional characteristic of a newly identified CD8 +Foxp3-CD103+ regulatory T cells

Ya Liu, Qin Lan, Ling Lu, Maogen Chen, Zanxian Xia, Jilin Ma, Julie Wang, Huimin Fan, Yi Shen, Bernhard Ryffel, David Brand, Francisco Quismorio, Zhongmin Liu, David A. Horwitz, Anping Xu, Song Guo Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


TGF-β and Foxp3 expressions are crucial for the induction and functional activity of CD4+Foxp3+ regulatory T (iTreg) cells. Here, we demonstrate that although TGF-β-primed CD8+ cells display much lower Foxp3 expression, their suppressive capacity is equivalent to that of CD4+ iTreg cells, and both Foxp3- and Foxp3+ CD8+ subsets have suppressive activities in vitro and in vivo. CD8+Foxp3- iTreg cells produce little IFN-γ but almost no IL-2, and display a typical anergic phenotype. Among phenotypic markers expressed in CD8+Foxp3- cells, we identify CD103 expression particularly crucial for the generation and function of this subset. Moreover, IL-10 and TGF-β signals rather than cytotoxicity mediate the suppressive effect of this novel Treg population. Therefore, TGF-β can induce both CD8+Foxp3- and CD8+Foxp3 + iTreg subsets, which may represent the unique immunoregulatory means to treat autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-92
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Molecular Cell Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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