by Luke R. Devey, James A. Richards, Richard A. O’Connor, Gary Borthwick, Spike Clay, A. Forbes Howie, Stephen J. Wigmore, Stephen M. Anderton, Sarah E. M. Howie
Ischemic preconditioning (IPC) protects organs from ischemia reperfusion injury (IRI) through unknown mechanisms. Effector T cell populations have been implicated in the pathogenesis of IRI, and T regulatory cells (Treg) have become a putative therapeutic target, with suggested involvement in IPC. We explored the role of Treg in hepatic IRI and IPC in detail. IPC significantly reduced injury following ischemia reperfusion insults. Treg were mobilized rapidly to the circulation and liver after IRI, but IPC did not further increase Treg numbers, nor was it associated with modulation of circulating pro-inflammatory chemokine or cytokine profiles. We used two techniques to deplete Treg from mice prior to IRI. Neither Treg depleted FoxP3.LuciDTR mice, nor wildtyoe mice depleted of Tregs with PC61, were more susceptible to IRI compared with controls. Despite successful enrichment of Treg in the liver, by adoptive transfer of both iTreg and nTreg or by in vivo expansion of Treg with IL-2/anti-IL-2 complexes, no protection against IRI was observed.We have explored the role of Treg in IRI and IPC using a variety of techniques to deplete and enrich them within both the liver and systemically. This work represents an important negative finding that Treg are not implicated in IPC and are unlikely to have translational potential in hepatic IRI.