2Molecular Immunology Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences
3Chronic Kidney Disease Research Center, Labbafinejad Hospital, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences
4Nephrology Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences
5Department of Pathology, Labbafinejad Hospital, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Background: Regulatory T cells have been suggested to have a protective role against acute rejection in allograft recipients. However, there is little information available about their contribution to chronic rejection process. The role of transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF- β1) as a profibrogenic and/or immunoregulatory cytokine in renal allografts is also controversial. Objectives: To evaluate the frequency of CD4+CD25+CD127- and CD3+CD8+CD28- regulatory T cells in chronic allograft dysfunction (CAD) and to investigate the expression of TGF- β1 in renal allografts. Methods: Thirty biopsy-proven CAD patients were pair-matched with 30 stable graft function patients and a third group of healthy volunteers. Flowcytometry was performed on PBMCs to determine the frequency of CD3+CD8+CD28- and CD4+CD25+CD127- regulatory T cells in lymphocyt population. TGF- β1 gene expression was assessed by Real Time PCR. Results: The percentage of CD3+CD8+CD28- Tregs among renal allograft recipients was higher than healthy controls (p<0.001) since stable graft patients showed the most rates. The frequency of CD4+CD25+CD127- Tregs was lower in CAD patients than stable recipients (p=0.024) and healthy group (p=0.015). TGF- β1 gene expression was greater in CAD patients compared to healthy group (p=0.03) but there was no significant difference between gene expression of stable graft patients and healthy volunteers. Conclusion: The negative association between the frequency of regulatory T cell subtypes and chronic allograft dysfunction proposes these cells as probable candidates for promoting allograft survival. Moreover, despite the immunoregulatory capacity of TGF- β1, it is likely to be implicated in chronic damages of allograft tissue.