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Barthels, Christian; Ogrinc, Ana; Steyer, Verena; Meier, Stefanie; Simon, Ferdinand; Wimmer, Maria; Blutke, Andreas; Straub, Tobias; Zimber-Strobl, Ursula; Lutgens, Esther; Marconi, Peggy; Ohnmacht, Caspar; Garzetti, Debora; Stecher, Bärbel; Brocker, Thomas (2017): CD40-signalling abrogates induction of ROR gamma t(+) Treg cells by intestinal CD103(+) DCs and causes fatal colitis. In: Nature Communications, Vol. 8, 14715


Immune homeostasis in intestinal tissues depends on the generation of regulatory T (Treg) cells. CD103(+) dendritic cells (DCs) acquire microbiota-derived material from the gut lumen for transport to draining lymph nodes and generation of receptor-related orphan gamma t(+) (ROR gamma t(+)) Helios(-)-induced Treg (iTreg) cells. Here we show CD40-signalling as a microbe-independent signal that can induce migration of CD103(+) DCs from the lamina propria (LP) to the mesenteric lymph nodes. Transgenic mice with constitutive CD11c-specific CD40-signalling have reduced numbers of CD103(+) DCs in LP and a low frequency of ROR gamma t(+)Helios(-) iTreg cells, exacerbated inflammatory Th1/Th17 responses, high titres of microbiota-specific immunoglobulins, dysbiosis and fatal colitis, but no pathology is detected in other tissues. Our data demonstrate a CD40-dependent mechanism capable of abrogating iTreg cell induction by DCs, and suggest that the CD40L/CD40-signalling axis might be able to intervene in the generation of new iTreg cells in order to counter-regulate immune suppression to enhance immunity.