MFG-E8 is critical for embryonic stem cell-mediated T cell immunomodulation

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The molecules and mechanisms pertinent to the low immunogenicity of undifferentiated embryonic stem cells (ESCs) remain poorly understood. Here, we provide evidence that milk fat globule epidermal growth factor 8 (MFG-E8) is a vital mediator in this phenomenon and directly suppresses T cell immune responses. MFG-E8 is enriched in undifferentiated ESCs but diminished in differentiated ESCs. Upregulation of MFG-E8 in ESCs increases the successful engraftment of both undifferentiated and differentiated ESCs across major histocompatibility complex barriers. MFG-E8 suppresses T cell activation/proliferation and inhibits Th1, Th2, and Th17 subpopulations while increasing regulatory T cell subsets. Neutralizing MFG-E8 substantially abrogates these effects, whereas addition of recombinant MFG-E8 to differentiated ESCs restores immunosuppression. Furthermore, we provide the evidence that MFG-E8 suppresses T cell activation and regulates T cell polarization by inhibiting PKCθ phosphorylation through the α3/5βV integrin receptor. Our findings offer an approach to facilitate transplantation acceptance.




Tan, Y., AlKhamees, B., Jia, D., Li, L., Couture, J. F., Figeys, D., … Wang, L. (2015). MFG-E8 is critical for embryonic stem cell-mediated T cell immunomodulation. Stem Cell Reports, 5(5), 741–752.

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