CD4+ regulatory T cells control TH17 responses in a stat3-dependent manner
Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
STAT3 Transcription Factor
Distinct classes of protective immunity are guided by activation of STAT transcription factor family members in response to environmental cues. CD4+ regulatory T cells (T(regs)) suppress excessive immune responses, and their deficiency results in a lethal, multi-organ autoimmune syndrome characterized by T helper 1 (TH1) and T helper 2 (TH2) CD4+ T cell-dominated lesions. Here we show that pathogenic TH17 responses in mice are also restrained by T(regs). This suppression was lost upon T(reg)-specific ablation of Stat3, a transcription factor critical for TH17 differentiation, and resulted in the development of a fatal intestinal inflammation. These findings suggest that T(regs) adapt to their environment by engaging distinct effector response-specific suppression modalities upon activation of STAT proteins that direct the corresponding class of the immune response.