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Phenotypic characterization of the population of regulatory T cells in umbilical cord blood from term and preterm newborns

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Camila Rennó Guimarães
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Master's Dissertation
Press: São Paulo.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Medicina (FM/SBD)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Patricia Palmeira; Maria Esther Jurfest Rivero Ceccon
Advisor: Patricia Palmeira

The predisposition of newborn infants to infectious diseases is attributed, in part, to the lack of pre-existing immunological memory. In preterm newborns, it is assumed that the immune system is less developed at birth, but little is known about the size and characteristics of lymphocyte subpopulations. Regulatory T cells (Tregs) have a crucial role in controlling the development of a healthy immune system including the maintenance of self-tolerance and, their absence, is responsible for the range of inflammatory and autoimmune manifestations observed in patients with IPEX (Immunodysregulation Polyendocrinopathy Enteropathy X-linked Syndrome). These cells are phenotypically characterized by the presence of the transcription factor Foxp3 (forkhead box P3) and by the high expression of the ? chain of the IL-2 receptor (CD25), as this cytokine is essential for the generation, maintenance and function of Treg cells. Little is known about the frequency of these cells in neonates, particularly in very and moderate preterm newborns and late preterm newborns studied as separate groups. Preliminary results from our group revealed greater ability of newborns to produce proinflammatory response compared to adults, which was further accentuated by the decreased production of IL-10, which suggests a reduced regulatory function. Thus, the aim of this study was to phenotypically characterize and quantify the population of Treg cells, by flow cytometry, in the cord blood of 15 preterm newborns born at 30-336/7 gestation weeks (Group 1), 19 preterm newborns born at 34-366/7 gestation weeks (Group 2) and 20 term newborns born at 37-41 gestation weeks (Group 3), all clinically healthy and adequate-for-gestational-age, compared to 26 healthy adults. The results demonstrated that there is an inverse correlation of the Treg frequency and gestational age, with significantly higher frequencies of CD4+CD25hiCD127loFoxp3+ Treg cells in Group 1 compared to Groups 2 and 3 and in Group 2 compared to Group 3, as well as significantly higher Treg frequencies and numbers in all the neonates compared to the adults. All of the newborns exhibited increased Treg frequencies with a naive phenotype compared to the adults. CTLA-4 expression in the naive Tregs was decreased in both preterm groups compared with those from term newborns and adults, as well as in the memory Treg cells from Group 1 compared with the other groups. The frequencies of alfa4beta7+ and alfa4beta1+ Tregs were higher in both preterm groups, but significantly different only in Group 1, when compared with those from the term newborns and the adults. In conclusion, high frequencies of Tregs were observed in term and preterm newborns, and these frequencies showed an inverse correlation with gestational age. These cells exhibited a naive profile when compared with adults, with high expression of CD45RA and alfa4beta7+ and lower expression of CTLA-4, implying a decreased function, particularly in very preterm newborns (AU)

FAPESP's process: 12/10928-8 - Phenotypic characterization of T regulatory cell population in cord blood of term and preterm newborns
Grantee:Camila Rennó Guimarães
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Master