J Immunol 2010 Apr 5;184(7):3470-7. Epub 2010 Mar 5.
Section of Toxicology and Biomedicine, Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development, Santa Maria di Galeria, 00123 Rome, Italy.
Growing evidence is unveiling a role for poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP)-1 in the regulation of inflammatory/immune responses. In the current study, we investigated the effects of PARP-1 deficiency on regulatory T cell differentiation. Increased numbers of regulatory CD4(+)CD25(+)/Foxp3(+) T cells were found in thymus, spleen, and lymph nodes of PARP-1 knockout (KO) mice compared with wild-type (WT) controls. The increased frequency of regulatory T cells in the periphery resulted in impaired CD4 cell proliferation and IL-2 production, which could be restored by CD25(+) cell depletion. Phenotype and inhibitory functions of PARP-1 KO regulatory T cells were similar to WT cells, indicating that PARP-1 affects regulatory T cell differentiation rather than function. Purified naive CD4 cells from PARP-1 KO mice stimulated in vitro expressed forkhead box p3 mRNA at higher levels and generated a greater number of Foxp3(+) cells (inducible regulatory T [iTreg] cells) than the WT counterpart. This finding was due to a higher rate of naive CD4 cell to Foxp3(+) iTreg cell conversion rather than to higher resistance to apoptosis induction. Interestingly, PARP-1 deficiency did not affect retinoid-related orphan receptor-gammat mRNA expression and differentiation of purified naive CD4 cells to Th17 cells. PARP-1 KO iTreg cells showed features similar to WT regulatory T cells, suggesting that modulation of PARP-1 during the immune response might be used to induce greater numbers of functional regulatory T cells. In conclusion, our findings represent the first evidence that PARP-1 can affect regulatory T cell differentiation and open new perspectives on potential targets for modulating immune responses.