A TNFR2-Agonist Facilitates High Purity Expansion of Human Low Purity Treg Cells
SourcePLoS One, 11, 5, (2016), article e0156311
Article / Letter to editor
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Paediatrics - OUD tm 2017
SubjectRadboudumc 5: Inflammatory diseases RIMLS: Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences
Regulatory T cells (Treg) are important for immune homeostasis and are considered of great interest for immunotherapy. The paucity of Treg numbers requires the need for ex vivo expansion. Although therapeutic Treg flow-sorting is feasible, most centers aiming at Treg-based therapy focus on magnetic bead isolation of CD4+CD25+ Treg using a good manufacturing practice compliant closed system that achieves lower levels of cell purity. Polyclonal Treg expansion protocols commonly use anti-CD3 plus anti-CD28 monoclonal antibody (mAb) stimulation in the presence of rhIL-2, with or without rapamycin. However, the resultant Treg population is often heterogeneous and pro-inflammatory cytokines like IFNgamma and IL-17A can be produced. Hence, it is crucial to search for expansion protocols that not only maximize ex vivo Treg proliferative rates, but also maintain Treg stability and preserve their suppressive function. Here, we show that ex vivo expansion of low purity magnetic bead isolated Treg in the presence of a TNFR2 agonist mAb (TNFR2-agonist) together with rapamycin, results in a homogenous stable suppressive Treg population that expresses FOXP3 and Helios, shows low expression of CD127 and hypo-methylation of the FOXP3 gene. These cells reveal a low IL-17A and IFNgamma producing potential and hardly express the chemokine receptors CCR6, CCR7 and CXCR3. Restimulation of cells in a pro-inflammatory environment did not break the stability of this Treg population. In a preclinical humanized mouse model, the TNFR2-agonist plus rapamycin expanded Treg suppressed inflammation in vivo. Importantly, this Treg expansion protocol enables the use of less pure, but more easily obtainable cell fractions, as similar outcomes were observed using either FACS-sorted or MACS-isolated Treg. Therefore, this protocol is of great interest for the ex vivo expansion of Treg for clinical immunotherapy.
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