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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

On-line version ISSN 1414-431X


LANGIER, S. et al. Prolonged acceptance of skin grafts induced by B cells places regulatory T cells on the histopathology scene. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 2012, vol.45, n.10, pp.942-947.  Epub May 31, 2012 ISSN 1414-431X.

The participation of regulatory T (Treg) cells in B cell-induced T cell tolerance has been claimed in different models. In skin grafts, naive B cells were shown to induce graft tolerance. However, neither the contribution of Treg cells to B cell-induced skin tolerance nor their contribution to the histopathological diagnosis of graft acceptance has been addressed. Here, using male C57BL/6 naive B cells to tolerize female animals, we show that skin graft tolerance is dependent on CD25+ Treg cell activity and independent of B cell-derived IL-10. In fact, B cells from IL-10-deficient mice were able to induce skin graft tolerance while Treg depletion of the host inhibited 100% graft survival. We questioned how Treg cell-mediated tolerance would impact on histopathology. B cell-tolerized skin grafts showed pathological scores as high as a rejected skin from naive, non-tolerized mice due to loss of skin appendages, reduced keratinization and mononuclear cell infiltrate. However, in tolerized mice, 40% of graft infiltrating CD4+ cells were FoxP3+ Treg cells with a high Treg:Teff (effector T cell) ratio (6:1) as compared to non-tolerized mice where Tregs comprise less than 8% of total infiltrating CD4 cells with a Treg:Teff ratio below 1:1. These results render Treg cells an obligatory target for histopathological studies on tissue rejection that may help to diagnose and predict the outcome of a transplanted organ.

Keywords : Skin graft; Tolerance; B cells; Treg; Histopathology.

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