Cellular adhesion molecules involved in cell-to-cell mediated suppression by Tregs are not well characterized. We found that the majority of Tregs expressed LFA-1 but most strikingly that the frequency of Tregs in LFA-1(-/-) mice was significantly lower (approximately 50%) in the spleen, lymph nodes, and Peyer's patches compared to wild type controls. The reduction in LFA-1(-/-) Treg cells appears due in part to a reduced capacity of LFA-1(-/-) CD4(+)CD25(-) cells to be induced to become Tregs in the lymph nodes. Importantly, we found that LFA-1(-/-) Tregs fail to suppress T cell responses in vitro and have reduced function in vivo. Treg-mediated suppression does not depend on LFA-1 interactions with ICAM-1 on the surface of responder cells. Our data demonstrate that LFA-1 plays a critical role in regulatory T cell homeostasis and function.
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