IL-6 Inhibits Upregulation of Membrane-Bound TGF-β 1 on CD4+ T Cells and Blocking IL-6 Enhances Oral Tolerance
Oral administration of Ag induces regulatory T cells that express latent membrane-bound TGF-β (latency-associated peptide [LAP]) and have been shown to play an important role in the induction of oral tolerance. We developed an in vitro model to study modulation of LAP + on CD4 + T cells. The combination of anti-CD3 mAb, anti-CD28 mAb, and recombinant IL-2 induced expression of LAP on naive CD4 + T cells, independent of Foxp3 or exogenous TGF-β. In vitro generated CD4 + LAP + Foxp3 − T cells were suppressive in vitro, inhibiting proliferation of naive CD4 + T cells and IL-17A secretion by Th17 cells. Assessing the impact of different cytokines and neutralizing Abs against cytokines, we found that LAP induction was decreased in the presence of IL-6 and IL-21, and to a lesser extent by IL-4 and TNF-α. IL-6 abrogated the in vitro induction of CD4 + LAP + T cells by STAT3-dependent inhibition of Lrrc32 (glycoprotein A repetitions predominant [GARP]), the adapter protein that tethers TGF-β to the membrane. Oral tolerance induction was enhanced in mice lacking expression of IL-6R by CD4 + T cells and by treatment of wild-type mice with neutralizing anti-IL-6 mAb. These results suggest that proinflammatory cytokines interfere with oral tolerance induction and that blocking the IL-6 pathway is a potential strategy for enhancing oral tolerance in the setting of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
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