Foxp3+ Tregs are recruited to the retina to repair pathological angiogenesis

Devy Deliyanti, Dean M. Talia, Tong Zhu, Mhairi J. Maxwell, Alex Agrotis, Jack R. Jerome, Emily M. Hargreaves, Steven Gerondakis, Margaret L. Hibbs, Fabienne Mackay, Jennifer L. Wilkinson-Berka

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24 Citations (Scopus)


Neovascular retinopathies are major causes of vision loss; yet treatments to prevent the condition are inadequate. The role of regulatory T cells in neovascular retinopathy is unknown. Here we show that in retinopathy regulatory T cells are transiently increased in lymphoid organs and the retina, but decline when neovascularization is established. The decline is prevented following regulatory T cells expansion with an IL-2/anti-IL-2 mAb complex or the adoptive transfer of regulatory T cells. Further, both approaches reduce vasculopathy (vaso-obliteration, neovascularization, vascular leakage) and alter the activation of Tmem119+ retinal microglia. Our in vitro studies complement these findings, showing that retinal microglia co-cultured with regulatory T cells exhibit a reduction in co-stimulatory molecules and pro-inflammatory mediators that is attenuated by CTLA-4 blockade. Collectively, we demonstrate that regulatory T cells are recruited to the retina and, when expanded in number, repair the vasculature. Manipulation of regulatory T cell numbers is a previously unrecognized, and promising avenue for therapies to prevent blinding neovascular retinopathies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number748
Number of pages12
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

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