Regulation of pulmonary T cell responses to inhaled antigen: role in Th1- and Th2-mediated inflammation

S C Lee, Z H Jaffar, K S Wan, S T Holgate, K Roberts
Journal of Immunology 1999 June 1, 162 (11): 6867-79
DO11.10 transgenic mice, expressing an OVA-specific TCR, were used to study pulmonary T cell responses to inhaled Ags. Before OVA inhalation, the activation of lung parenchymal T cells elicited both strong proliferative responses and IL-2 production. However, following Ag inhalation the proliferative responses of the lung T cells, when restimulated in vitro with OVA323-339 peptide or immobilized anti-CD3, were severely attenuated and associated with a decrease in the level of production of IL-2 but not IFN-gamma. Such immune regulation was tissue-specific, because T cell responses in the lymph nodes and spleens were normal. This dramatic aerosol-induced attenuation of parenchymal T cell proliferation was also observed in BALB/c mice immunized with OVA and in BALB/c mice following adoptive transfer of DO11.10 T cells bearing either a Th1 or Th2 phenotype. In mice that had received Th2 cells, the reduced proliferative responses were associated with a decrease in IL-2 expression but augmented IL-4 and IL-5 production. Invariably, the inhibition of proliferation was a consequence of the action of F4/80+ interstitial macrophages and did not involve alveolar macrophages or their products. These observations demonstrate that clonal expansion of T cells in the lung compartment is prevented following the onset of either Th1- or Th2-mediated inflammation. This form of immune regulation, which appears as a selective defect in IL-2-driven proliferation, may serve to prevent the development of chronic pulmonary lymphoproliferative responses.

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