Could the Crosstalk Between Myeloid-Derived-Suppressor Cells and Regulatory T Cells Have a Role in Beta-Thalassemia?

Asmaa M. Zahran, Omnia El-Badawy, Eman R. Badawy, Khalid I. Elsayh, Eman F. Gad, Khaled Saad, Khalid Hashim Mahmoud, Amira Elhoufey, Hamad Ghaleb Dailah, Marwa Ghazaly


Background: Secondary iron overload, alloimmunization, and increased risk of infection are common complications in patients with transfusion-dependent thalassemia (TDT). Regulatory T cells (Tregs) and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) play an essential role in preventing excessive immune response. This research aimed to study the interaction between Tregs and MDSCs in TDT patients and to evaluate the association of these cell types with disease severity.

Methods: This case-control study included 26 patients with TDT and 23 healthy, age- and sex-matched controls. All patients were investigated for complete blood count (CBC), serum ferritin, and flow cytometric analysis of peripheral blood to detect Tregs, MDSCs, and MDSC subsets.

Results: A significant increase was observed in the frequencies of Tregs and MDSCs, particularly monocytic MDSCs (MO-MDSCs), in TDT patients compared with controls. The frequencies of these cells showed a direct association with ferritin level and total leukocyte count and an inverse association with hemoglobin level. Furthermore, a positive correlation was observed between Tregs and each of the total MDSCs and MO-MDSCs.

Conclusions: Levels of Tregs and MDSCs increased in TDT and may probably have a role in suppressing the active immune systems of TDT patients.

J Hematol. 2023;12(4):161-169


Myeloid-derived-suppressor cells; Regulatory T cells; beta-thalassemia; Children

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