Suppression of pro-inflammatory T-cell responses by human mesothelial cells

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Abstract

Background

Human γδ T cells reactive to the microbial metabolite (E)-4-hydroxy-3-methyl-but-2-enyl pyrophosphate (HMB-PP) contribute to acute inflammatory responses. We have previously shown that peritoneal dialysis (PD)-associated infections with HMB-PP producing bacteria are characterized by locally elevated γδ T-cell frequencies and poorer clinical outcome compared with HMB-PP negative infections, implying that γδ T cells may be of diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic value in acute disease. The regulation by local tissue cells of these potentially detrimental γδ T-cell responses remains to be investigated.

Methods

Freshly isolated γδ or αβ T cells were cultured with primary mesothelial cells derived from omental tissue, or with mesothelial cell-conditioned medium. Stimulation of cytokine production and proliferation by peripheral T cells in response to HMB-PP or CD3/CD28 beads was assessed by flow cytometry.

Results

Resting mesothelial cells were potent suppressors of pro-inflammatory γδ T cells as well as CD4+ and CD8+ αβ T cells. The suppression of γδ T-cell responses was mediated through soluble factors released by primary mesothelial cells and could be counteracted by SB-431542, a selective inhibitor of TGF-β and activin signalling. Recombinant TGF-β1 but not activin-A mimicked the mesothelial cell-mediated suppression of γδ T-cell responses to HMB-PP.

Conclusions

The present findings indicate an important regulatory function of mesothelial cells in the peritoneal cavity by dampening pro-inflammatory T-cell responses, which may help preserve the tissue integrity of the peritoneal membrane in the steady state and possibly during the resolution of acute inflammation.

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