Host Expression of the CD8 Treg/NK Cell Restriction Element Qa-1 is Dispensable for Transplant Tolerance.

Stocks BT, Wilson CS, Marshall AF, Brewer LA, Moore DJ
Sci Rep. 2017 7 (1): 11181

PMID: 28894277 · DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-11780-2

Disruption of the non-classical Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) Ib molecule Qa-1 impairs CD8 Treg and natural killer (NK) cell function and promotes a lupus-like autoimmune disease. This immune perturbation would be expected to enhance anti-transplant responses and impair tolerance induction, but the effect of Qa-1 deficiency on the transplant response has not been previously reported. Qa-1 deficiency enhanced CD4 TFH and germinal center (GC) B cell numbers in naïve mice and hastened islet allograft rejection. Despite enhanced immunity in B6.Qa-1(-/-) mice, these mice did not generate an excessive primary CD4 TFH cell response nor an enhanced alloantibody reaction. Both CD8 Tregs and NK cells, which often regulate other cells through host Qa-1 expression, were targets of anti-CD45RB therapy that had not been previously recognized. However, B6.Qa-1(-/-) mice remained susceptible to anti-CD45RB mediated suppression of the alloantibody response and transplant tolerance induction to mismatched islet allografts. Overall, despite enhanced immunity as demonstrated by augmented CD4 TFH/GC B cell numbers and hastened islet allograft rejection in naïve 12-week old Qa-1 deficient mice, the CD8 Treg/NK cell restriction element Qa-1 does not regulate the primary cellular or humoral alloresponse and is not required for long-term transplant tolerance.

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