Regulatory T cell expressed MyD88 is critical for prolongation of allograft survival

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Abstract

MyD88 signaling directly promotes T-cell survival and is required for optimal T-cell responses to pathogens. To examine the role of T-cell-intrinsic MyD88 signals in transplantation, we studied mice with targeted T-cell-specific MyD88 deletion. Contrary to expectations, we found that these mice were relatively resistant to prolongation of graft survival with anti-CD154 plus rapamycin in a class II-mismatched system. To specifically examine the role of MyD88 in Tregs, we created a Treg-specific MyD88-deficient mouse. Transplant studies in these animals replicated the findings observed with a global T-cell MyD88 knockout. Surprisingly, given the role of MyD88 in conventional T-cell survival, we found no defect in the survival of MyD88-deficient Tregs in vitro or in the transplant recipients and also observed intact cell homing and expression of Treg effector molecules. MyD88-deficient Tregs also fail to protect allogeneic bone marrow transplant recipients from chronic graft-versus-host disease, confirming the observations of defective regulation seen in a solid organ transplant system. Together, our data define MyD88 as having a divergent requirement for cell survival in non-Tregs and Tregs, and a yet-to-be defined survival-independent requirement for Treg function during the response to alloantigen.

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