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.
- DNA vaccination
- Regulatory T cells