Expression of interleukin (IL)-2 and IL-7 receptors discriminates between human regulatory and activated T cells

Nabila Seddiki, Brigitte Santner-Nanan, Jeff Martinson, John Zaunders, Sarah Sasson, Alan Landay, Michael Solomon, Warwick Selby, Stephen I. Alexander, Ralph Nanan, Anthony Kelleher, Barbara Fazekas Barbara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abnormalities in CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T (T reg) cells have been implicated in susceptibility to allergic, autoimmune, and immunoinflammatory conditions. However, phenotypic and functional assessment of human T reg cells has been hampered by difficulty in distinguishing between CD25-expressing activated and regulatory T cells. Here, we show that expression of CD127, the α chain of the interleukin-7 receptor, allows an unambiguous flow cytometry-based distinction to be made between CD127lo T reg cells and CD127hi conventional T cells within the CD25+CD45RO+RA- effector/memory and CD45RA+RO- naive compartments in peripheral blood and lymph node. In healthy volunteers, peripheral blood CD25+CD127lo cells comprised 6.35 ± 0.26% of CD4+ T cells, of which 2.05 ± 0.14% expressed the naive subset marker CD45RA. Expression of FoxP3 protein and the CD127lo phenotype were highly correlated within the CD4+CD25+ population. Moreover, both effector/memory and naive CD25+CD127lo cells manifested suppressive activity in vitro, whereas CD25 +CD127hi cells did not. Cell surface expression of CD127 therefore allows accurate estimation of T reg cell numbers and isolation of pure populations for in vitro studies and should contribute to our understanding of regulatory abnormalities in immunopathic diseases. JEM

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1693-1700
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 10 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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