A unique subpopulation of CD4+ regulatory T cells controls wasting disease, IL-10 secretion and T cell homeostasis

Eur J Immunol. 2003 Sep;33(9):2419-28. doi: 10.1002/eji.200324205.


CD25(+)CD4(+) regulatory T cells have major roles in controlling immune responses, and use heterogeneous regulatory mechanisms. It is possible that these different activities are mediated by different subsets. Here we show that CD103(+)CD25(+)CD4(+) T cells (that control inflammatory bowel disease) are highly enriched in gut-associated lymphoid tissue and have unique functional properties. In vivo, only this subpopulation is able to control wasting disease and peripheral T cell homeostasis. In vitro, only this subpopulation is able to regulate IL-10 secretion, and it might also mediate infectious suppression. These results demonstrate that regulatory T cells can be divided into discrete subpopulations with defined functional properties and regulatory mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Homeostasis / physiology*
  • Integrins / metabolism
  • Interleukin-10 / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cytokine / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Cytokine / genetics
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism*
  • Wasting Syndrome / metabolism*


  • Cytokines
  • Integrins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Cytokine
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2
  • integrin alphaEbeta7
  • Interleukin-10