Foxp3⁺ Treg cells in the inflamed CNS are insensitive to IL-6-driven IL-17 production

Richard A O'Connor, Stefan Floess, Jochen Huehn, Simon A Jones, Stephen M Anderton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Foxp3(+) T regulatory (Treg) cells can be induced to produce interleukin (IL)-17 by in vitro exposure to proinflammatory cytokines, drawing into question their functional stability at sites of inflammation. Unlike their splenic counterparts, Treg cells from the inflamed central nervous system (CNS-Treg cells) during EAE resisted conversion to IL-17 production when exposed to IL-6. We show that the highly activated phenotype of CNS-Treg cells includes elevated expression of the Th1-associated molecules CXCR3 and T-bet, but reduced expression of the IL-6 receptor α chain (CD126) and the signaling chain gp130. We found a lack of IL-6 receptor on all CNS CD4(+) T cells, which was reflected by an absence of both classical and trans-IL-6 signaling in CNS CD4(+) cells, compared with their splenic counterparts. We propose that extinguished responsiveness to IL-6 (via down-regulation of CD126 and gp130) stabilizes the regulatory phenotype of activated Treg cells at sites of autoimmune inflammation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1174-9
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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