In multiple sclerosis (MS) and other autoimmune diseases, the autoreactive T cells overcome the resistance provided by the regulatory T cells (Tregs) due to a decrease in the number of Foxp3-expressing Tregs. Therefore, upregulation and/or maintenance of Tregs during an autoimmune insult may have therapeutic efficacy in autoimmune diseases. Although several immunomodulatory drugs and molecules are available, most present significant side effects over long-term use. Here we have undertaken an innovative approach to upregulate Tregs and achieve immunomodulation. RNS60 is a 0.9% saline solution generated by subjecting normal saline to Taylor-Couette-Poiseuille (TCP) flow under elevated oxygen pressure. RNS60, but not NS (normal saline), RNS10.3 (TCP-modified saline without excess oxygen) and PNS60 (saline containing excess oxygen without TCP modification), was found to upregulate Foxp3 and enrich Tregs in MBP-primed T cells. Moreover, RNS60, but not NS, RNS10.3 and PNS60, inhibited the production of nitric oxide (NO) and the expression of iNOS in MBP-primed splenocytes. Incubation of the cells with an NO donor abrogated the RNS60-mediated upregulation of Foxp3. These results suggest that RNS60 boosts Tregs via suppression of NO production. Consistent to the suppressive activity of Tregs towards autoreactive T cells, RNS60, but not NS, RNS10.3, or PNS60, suppressed the differentiation of Th17 and Th1 cells and shifted the balance towards a Th2 response. Finally, RNS60 treatment exhibited immunomodulation and ameliorated adoptive transfer of experimental allergic encephalomyelitis, an animal model of MS, via Tregs. These results describe a novel immunomodulatory property of RNS60 and suggest its exploration for therapeutic intervention in MS and other autoimmune disorders. © 2012 Mondal et al.
Mondal, S., Martinson, J. A., Ghosh, S., Watson, R., & Pahan, K. (2012). Protection of Tregs, Suppression of Th1 and Th17 Cells, and Amelioration of Experimental Allergic Encephalomyelitis by a Physically-Modified Saline. PLoS ONE, 7(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0051869