Interleukin-10-mediated regulatory T-cell responses to epitopes on a human red blood cell autoantigen

Andrew Michael Hall, Frank James Ward, Mark Adrian Vickers, Lisa-Marie Stott, Stanislaw Urbaniak, Robert Norman Barker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


Regulatory T cells have been shown to control animal models of immune-mediated pathology by inhibitory cytokine production, but little is known about such cells in human disease. Here we characterize regulatory T-cell responses specific for a human red blood cell autoantigen in patients with warm-type autoimmune hemolytic anemia. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients with autoimmune hemolytic anemia were found either to proliferate and produce interferon-gamma or to secrete the regulatory cytokine interleukin 10 when stimulated in vitro with a major red blood cell autoantigen, the RhD protein. Flow cytometric analysis confirmed that the majority of the responding cells were of the CD4(+) phenotype. Serial results from individual patients demonstrated that this bias toward proliferative or interleukin-10 responses was unstable over time and could reverse in subsequent samples. Epitope mapping studies identified peptides from the sequence of the autoantigen that preferentially induced interleukin-10 production, rather than proliferation, and demonstrated that many contain naturally processed epitopes. Responses to such peptides suppressed T-cell proliferation against the RhD protein, an inhibition that was mediated largely by interleukin 10 and dependent on cytotonic T lymphocyte-associated antigen (CTLA-4) costimulation. Antigenic peptides with the ability to stimulate specific regulatory cells may represent a new class of therapeutic agents for immune-mediated disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4529-4536
Number of pages8
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2002


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anemia, Hemolytic, Autoimmune
  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation
  • Autoantigens
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Epitopes
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Immunoconjugates
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Interleukin-10
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peptide Mapping
  • Rh-Hr Blood-Group System
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer


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