Rapamycin and interleukin-10 treatment induces T regulatory type 1 cells that mediate antigen-specific transplantation tolerance

Manuela Battaglia, Angela Stabilini, Elena Draghici, Silvia Gregori, Cristina Mocchetti, Ezio Bonifacio, Maria Grazia Roncarolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Islet transplantation is a cure for type 1 diabetes, but its potential is limited by the need for constant immunosuppression. One solution to this problem is the induction of transplantation tolerance mediated by T regulatory cells. T regulatory type 1 (Tr1) cells are characterized by their production of high levels of interleukin (IL)-10, which is crucial for their differentiation and suppressive function. We investigated the effects of IL-10 administered in combination with rapamycin on the induction of Tr1 cells that could mediate a state of tolerance in diabetic mice after pancreatic islet transplantation. The efficacy of this treatment was compared with IL-10 alone and standard immunosuppression. Stable long-term tolerance that was not reversible by alloantigen rechallenge was achieved only in mice treated with rapamycin plus IL-10. Tr1 cells that produced high levels of IL-10 and suppressed T-cell proliferation were isolated from splenocytes of rapamycin plus IL-10-treated mice after treatment withdrawal. In rapamycin plus IL-10-treated mice, endogenous IL-10 mediated an active state of tolerance, as was observed when the blockade of IL-10 activity rapidly induced graft rejection >100 days after transplantation. CD4+ T-cells from rapamycin plus IL-10-treated mice transferred antigen-specific tolerance in mice that received new transplants. Thus rapamycin plus IL-10 not only prevented allograft rejection but also induced Tr1 cells that mediated stable antigen-specific, long-term tolerance in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-49
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Internal Medicine


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