Transfer of mature T cells into immunodeficient mice results in sub-optimal reconstitution of the peripheral T cell pool. Under lymphopenic conditions, dendritic cells are released from tonic control by regulatory T cells (Tregs), and consequently drive activation and proliferation of low affinity T cells specific for endogenous antigens. This oligoclonal proliferation results in a T cell population dominated by T cells possessing an effector/memory phenotype and a limited TCR repertoire. Oligoclonal expansion can be prevented by selectively reconstituting the Treg compartment prior to T cell transfer (Bolton et al., 2015). Reconstitution of the Treg compartment of lymphopenic mice has been tested in immunodeficient mouse strains such as Rag-1-/-or Rag-2-/- mice, and in immunosufficient mice rendered transiently lymphopaenic by lethal whole body irradiation as conditioning for bone marrow transplantation (BMT). Transfer of purified Tregs into these hosts, combined with treatment with exogenous IL-2 for 7 days, is sufficient to reconstitute the Treg compartment and reduce expression of dendritic cell costimulatory molecules, a critical process in preventing inappropriate expansion of self-reactive T cells. T cells transferred after Treg reconstitution do not undergo rapid spontaneous proliferation, and instead undergo slow homeostatic division to repopulate the T cell pool with naive T cells, thus allowing optimal reconstitution of peripheral T cell pool.
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