4 years ago

Regulatory T cells protect from autoimmune arthritis during pregnancy

Pregnancy frequently has a beneficial effect on the autoimmune disease Rheumatoid Arthritis, ranging from improvement in clinical symptoms to complete remission. Despite decades of study, a mechanistic explanation remains elusive. Here, we demonstrate that an analogous pregnancy-induced remission can be observed in a mouse model of arthritis. We demonstrate that during pregnancy mice are protected from collagen-induced arthritis, but are still capable of launching normal immune responses to influenza infections. We examine the role of regulatory T (TR) cells in this beneficial effect. TR cells are essential for many aspects of immune tolerance, including the suppression of autoimmune responses. Remarkably, transfer of regulatory T cells from pregnant ‘protected’ mice was sufficient to confer protection to non-pregnant mice. These results suggest that regulatory T cells are responsible for the pregnancy-induced amelioration of arthritis.


► Pregnancy-induced protection from RA is not due to systemic immunosuppression. ► The effect can be studied in Collagen-Induced Arthritis, a mouse model of human RA. ► Protection can be transferred from pregnant-protected to control mice using TR cells. ► The pregnancy-induced suppression of RA by TR cells is antigen-specific.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0896841111000953

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