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Pathological role of regulatory T cells in the initiation and maintenance of eczema herpeticum lesions.

Abstract

It remains unknown why the occurrence of eczema herpeticum (EH) caused by an extensive disseminated cutaneous infection with HSV-1 or HSV-2 is associated with the exacerbation of atopic dermatitis lesions after withdrawal of treatment. Although regulatory T cells (Tregs) limit the magnitude of HSV-specific T cell responses in mice, their role in the induction and resolution of EH has not been defined. We initially investigated the frequencies, phenotype, and function of Tregs in the peripheral blood of atopic dermatitis with EH (ADEH) patients at onset and after clinical resolution, atopic dermatitis patients without EH, and healthy controls. Tregs with the skin-homing phenotype and the activated/induced phenotype were expanded at onset and contracted upon resolution. Treg-suppressive capacity was retained in ADEH patients and, the expanded Tregs suppressed IFN-γ production from HSV-1-specific CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cells. The increased frequency of CD14(dim)CD16(+) proinflammatory monocytes (pMOs) was also observed in the blood and EH skin lesions. Thus, pMOs detected in ADEH patients at onset were characterized by an increased ability to produce IL-10 and a decreased ability to produce proinflammatory cytokines, unlike their normal counterparts. Our coculture study using Tregs and pMOs showed that the pMOs can promote the expansion of inducible Tregs. Tregs were detected frequently in the vicinity of HSV-expressing and varicella zoster virus-expressing CD16(+) monocytes in the EH lesions. Expansions of functional Tregs, together with pMOs, initially required for ameliorating excessive inflammation occurring after withdrawal of topical corticosteroids could, in turn, contribute to the initiation and progression of HSV reactivation, resulting in the onset of EH.

Authors: Takahashi R, Sato Y, Kurata M, Yamazaki Y, Kimishima M, Shiohara T.
Journal: J Immunol.192:969-78
Year: 2014
PubMed: Find in PubMed