CD4+ CD25+ suppressor T cells: more questions than answers

Nat Rev Immunol. 2002 Jun;2(6):389-400. doi: 10.1038/nri821.


Several mechanisms control discrimination between self and non-self, including the thymic deletion of autoreactive T cells and the induction of anergy in the periphery. In addition to these passive mechanisms, evidence has accumulated for the active suppression of autoreactivity by a population of regulatory or suppressor T cells that co-express CD4 and CD25 (the interleukin-2 receptor alpha-chain). CD4+ CD25+ T cells are powerful inhibitors of T-cell activation both in vivo and in vitro. The enhancement of suppressor-cell function might prove useful for the treatment of immune-mediated diseases, whereas the downregulation of these cells might be beneficial for the enhancement of the immunogenicity of vaccines that are specific for tumour antigens.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abatacept
  • Animals
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / immunology
  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation / metabolism
  • CD4 Antigens / metabolism*
  • CTLA-4 Antigen
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Immunoconjugates*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Mice
  • Models, Immunological
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / metabolism*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*
  • Thymus Gland / cytology
  • Thymus Gland / immunology
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism


  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation
  • CD4 Antigens
  • CTLA-4 Antigen
  • CTLA4 protein, human
  • Ctla4 protein, mouse
  • Cytokines
  • Immunoconjugates
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Abatacept