IL-2 induces in vivo suppression by CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells

Susan Brandenburg, Takeshi Takahashi, Maurus de la Rosa, Marko Janke, Gabriele Karsten, Till Muzzulini, Zane Orinska, Silvia Bulfone-Paus, Alexander Scheffold

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Interleukin-2 (IL-2) treatment is currently used to enhance T cell-mediated immune responses against tumors or in viral infections. At the same time, IL-2 is essential for the peripheral homeostasis of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (Treg). In our study, we show that IL-2 is also an important activator of Treg suppressive activity in vivo. IL-2 treatment induces Treg expansion as well as IL-10 production and increases their suppressive potential in vitro. Importantly, in vivo application of IL-2 via gene-gun vaccination using IL-2 encoding DNA plasmids (pIL-2) inhibited naive antigen-specific T cell proliferation as well as a Th1-induced delayed type hypersensitivity response. The suppressive effect can be transferred onto naive animals by Treg from IL-2-treated mice and the suppression depends on the synergistic action of IL-10 and TGF-β. These data highlight that during therapeutic treatment with IL-2 the concomitant activation of Treg may indeed counteract the intended activation of cellular immunity. © 2008 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1643-1653
    Number of pages10
    JournalEuropean journal of immunology
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008


    • DNA vaccination
    • IL-10
    • Regulatory T cells


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