The life of regulatory T cells

Department of Dermatology Department of Pathology, University of California San Francisco-School of Medicine, San Francisco, California.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 4.38). 02/2013; 1283(1). DOI: 10.1111/nyas.12011
Source: PubMed


Foxp3(+) regulatory T (T(reg) ) cells are essential for maintaining self-tolerance and preventing autoimmune reactions. T(reg) cells arise as a consequence of self-antigen recognition during the maturation of cells in the thymus, and also following self-antigen recognition in the periphery. Both thymic and peripherally generated T(reg) cells respond to antigen recognition by expanding in number, increasing their suppressive activity, and accumulating in the tissue where the antigen is located. A fraction of these activated "effector" T(reg) cells survive even in the absence of antigen expression and continue to control inflammatory reaction in the tissues, thus functioning as a population of "memory" T(reg) cells. Antigen exposure and the presence of IL-2 are key determinants in the generation of memory T(reg) cells. These results provide a foundation for studying the role of memory T(reg) cells in controlling and treating autoimmune disorders and for testing the hypothesis that defects in the generation and maintenance of these cells underlie chronic, relapsing inflammatory diseases.

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    • "The field of regulatory T cells, although relatively recent, has had an explosion of knowledge driven by detailed experimental work (20, 65, 72, 123, 124). Indeed there are many more studies than we could possibly review or even allude to in this mini-review. "
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    ABSTRACT: To maintain immunological balance the organism has to be tolerant to self while remaining competent to mount an effective immune response against third-party antigens. An important mechanism of this immune regulation involves the action of regulatory T-cell (Tregs). In this mini-review, we discuss some of the known and proposed mechanisms by which Tregs exert their influence in the context of immune regulation, and the contribution of mathematical modeling for these mechanistic studies. These models explore the mechanisms of action of regulatory T cells, and include hypotheses of multiple signals, delivered through simultaneous antigen-presenting cell (APC) conjugation; interaction of feedback loops between APC, Tregs, and effector cells; or production of specific cytokines that act on effector cells. As the field matures, and competing models are winnowed out, it is likely that we will be able to quantify how tolerance-inducing strategies, such as CD4-blockade, affect T-cell dynamics and what mechanisms explain the observed behavior of T-cell based tolerance.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · Frontiers in Immunology
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