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Blockade of Treg derived TGF-β abrogates suppression of effector T cell function within the tumor microenvironment
© Budhu et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2013
Published: 7 November 2013
Regulatory T cells (Treg) play a role in suppression of anti-melanoma immunity; however, the exact mechanism is poorly understood. Through intravital two photon microscopy, we found that Pmel-1 effectors engage in cell-cell interactions with tumor resident Tregs. To determine if contact between Tregs and T effectors (Teff) hinders killing of tumor cells in vivo, we utilized ex-vivo three-dimensional collagen-fibrin gel cultures of B16 melanoma cells. Collagen-fibrin gel cultures recapitulated the in vivo suppression, rendering the dissociated tumor resistant to killing by in vitro activated antigen specific Teff. In vivo depletion of Tregs in foxp3-DTR mice prior to tumor excision reversed the suppression. Additionally, In vivo modulation of intra-tumor Tregs suppressive function by GITR ligation had a similar effect, leading to ex-vivo tumor killing. Using neutralizing antibodies, we found that blocking TGF-β reversed the suppression. In addition, soluble factors from collagen-fibrin gel tumors do not inhibit killing suggesting that suppression is contact or proximity dependent. The CD8 Teff recovered from these gels exhibit a decrease in Granzyme B expression and an increase in expression of T cell exhaustion marker PD-1. These findings support the conclusion that intra-tumor contact with Tregs during the effector phase of the immune response is responsible for inhibiting anti-melanoma immunity in a TGF-β dependent manner, elucidating a novel way to target intratumoral Tregs.
This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.