24. Previously, we have shown that the expression of FoxP3 was significantly up-regulated in woodchucks with chronic WHV infection in comparison to uninfected animals.18 In the present study, wTreg in peripheral blood and in liver of uninfected and WHV chronically infected woodchucks was characterized by flow cytometry (FACS). As shown in Fig.
1A, no significant differences in the percentage of Treg in peripheral blood were observed between either group. However, significant differences were obtained regarding the percentage of Treg in liver (P = 0.0005; Fig. 1B). For further characterization of the intrahepatic immunosuppressive selleck chemicals milieu the expression of wTGF-β1, wIL-10, wPD-1, and wPD-L1 were analyzed by PCR. As shown in Fig. 1C-F, the expression click here of wTGF-β1, wIL-10, wPD-1, and wPD-L1 was significantly increased in the liver of woodchucks with chronic WHV infection compared with noninfected woodchucks. TGF-β1 is one
of several cytokines that mediates the inhibitory activity of Treg. As this cytokine is highly up-regulated in the liver of WHV chronically infected woodchucks it may represent a relevant target for recovery of T-cell immune responses against WHV. wTGF-β1 was cloned from the woodchuck hepatoma cell line WHC-17 (GenBank accession number: ADP44690.1). Comparison of wTGF-β1 with TGF-β1 from other species revealed a high degree of homology. In particular, the woodchuck mature peptide revealed 100% homology to the human TGF-β1 (Supporting Fig. 1A). Next we tested if P17, a synthetic peptide that inhibits in vitro and in vivo the activity of human and murine TGF-β1,20 can also inhibit woodchuck wTGF-β1. Taking advantage of the known capacity of TGF-β1 to inhibit melanogenesis, supernatants of WHC-17 cells were added to melanocytes culture in the presence and absence of P17
peptide. A human-TGF-β1 inhibitory antibody (α-hTGF-β1) was used as a control. As shown in Fig. 2A, WHC17 supernatant inhibited significantly melanin production, and this inhibition was reversed by the addition selleckchem of P17 or α-hTGF-β1. Thus, our data suggest that the P17 peptide can inhibit wTGF-β1. Next, the concentration of wTGF-β1 in serum of uninfected and WHV-infected woodchucks was analyzed using a crossreactive human TGF-β1 ELISA kit. Serum concentrations of wTGF-β1 were highly variable in individual woodchucks and, therefore, no significant difference was observed between uninfected and WHV-infected woodchucks (Supporting Fig. 1B). Next we tested if P17 peptide affects in vitro the ability of wTreg to suppress woodchuck effector T-cell activation. P17 peptide was added to cocultures of CD25pos and CD25neg T cells at a concentration of 150 μg/mL, and the expression of IFN-γ was determined by RT-PCR and IL-2 production was determined using a bioassay. As shown in Fig.