Author(s): Yamaguchi T, Wing JB, Sakaguchi S
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Abstract Foxp3-expressing regulatory T cells (Tregs) play a crucial role in maintaining immune tolerance and homeostasis. One of the key issues for understanding Treg immunobiology is to determine how they suppress excessive or aberrant immune responses. Although a number of molecules have been reported to contribute to Treg suppressive function, the importance and precise role of each molecule is not clear. In this review, we propose and discuss that two modes of suppression can be distinguished. In the physiological and steady state, activation of naïve T cells can be suppressed by natural Tregs via deprivation of activation signals including CD28 signal and IL-2 from antigen-reactive T cells, keeping the latter in a naïve state in lymphoid tissues. These deprivation mechanisms are transiently abrogated in inflammatory conditions, allowing T cells to respond to antigen. In contrast, in highly inflammatory environments, for example, in microbial infection, activated Tregs acquire the capacity to kill or inactivate effector T cells and antigen-presenting cells, for example, via granzyme/perforin formation and IL-10 secretion, thereby actively damping excessive immune responses. Understanding these processes will help effectively controlling physiological and pathological immune responses via Tregs. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Semin Immunol
and referenced in Journal of Stem Cell Research & Therapy