CD4(+) regulatory T cells in autoimmunity and allergy

Curr Opin Immunol. 2002 Dec;14(6):771-8. doi: 10.1016/s0952-7915(02)00408-9.


Regulatory T cells (also referred to as suppressor T cells) are important components of the homeostasis of the immune system, as impaired regulatory T cell activity can cause autoimmune diseases and atopy. It is now clear that the phrase 'regulatory T cells' encompasses more than one cell type. For instance, CD4(+)CD25(+) regulatory T cells have received attention due to their immunosuppressive properties in vitro and in vivo, but in several instances it has been shown that CD4(+)CD25(-) T cell populations also contain potent regulatory activity. Recent progress in the field of regulatory T cells includes the discovery of the role of two tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR) family members (GITR and TRANCE-R/RANK) in Treg biology, the improved understanding of the role of co-stimulatory molecules and cytokines IL-10 and IL-2 in the induction and function of Tregs, and the generation of CD25(+) and CD25(-) regulatory T cells in vivo through high-avidity T cell receptor interactions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / immunology
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*


  • Receptors, Interleukin-2
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor