Dexamethasone, but not meloxicam, suppresses proliferation of bovine CD25+ CD4+ and CD25- CD4+ T cells.
This paper investigates the in vitro effect of dexamethasone on bovine CD25highCD4+, CD25lowCD4+ and CD25-CD4+ T cells. Only a small percentage of bovine CD25highCD4+ (2-4%) and CD25lowCD4+ (1-2%) cells expressed Foxp3. Dexamethasone caused considerable loss of CD25-CD4+ cells, but it increased the relative and absolute numbers of CD25highCD4+ and CD25lowCD4+ lymphocytes, while at the same time reducing the percentage of Foxp3+ cells within the latter subpopulations. Considering all these, as well as the intrinsically poor Foxp3 expression in bovine CD25+CD4+, it can be concluded that the drug most probably increased the number of activated non-regulatory CD4+ lymphocytes. It has been found that changes in cell number were at least partly caused by proapoptotic effect of the drug on CD25-CD4+ cells and antiapoptotic effect on CD25highCD4+ and CD25lowCD4+ cells. The results obtained from this study indicate that the involvement of CD4+ lymphocytes in producing the anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive effect of dexamethasone in cattle results from the fact that the drug had a depressive effect on the production of IFN-γ by CD25-CD4+ cells. Secretion of TGF-β and IL-10 by CD4+ lymphocytes was not involved in producing these pharmacological effects, because the drug did not affect production of TGF-β and, paradoxically, it reduced the percentage of IL-10+CD4+ cells.