Tim-3 inhibits T helper type 1-mediated auto- and alloimmune responses and promotes immunological tolerance

Nat Immunol. 2003 Nov;4(11):1093-101. doi: 10.1038/ni987. Epub 2003 Oct 12.


Although T helper (T(H)) cell-mediated immunity is required to effectively eliminate pathogens, unrestrained T(H) activity also contributes to tissue injury in many inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. We report here that the T(H) type 1 (T(H)1)-specific Tim-3 (T cell immunoglobulin domain, mucin domain) protein functions to inhibit aggressive T(H)1-mediated auto- and alloimmune responses. Tim-3 pathway blockade accelerated diabetes in nonobese diabetic mice and prevented acquisition of transplantation tolerance induced by costimulation blockade. These effects were mediated, at least in part, by dampening of the antigen-specific immunosuppressive function of CD4(+)CD25(+) regulatory T cell populations. Our data indicate that the Tim-3 pathway provides an important mechanism to down-regulate T(H)1-dependent immune responses and to facilitate the development of immunological tolerance.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Hepatitis A Virus Cellular Receptor 2
  • Immune System / immunology*
  • Immune Tolerance / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2
  • Receptors, Virus / genetics
  • Receptors, Virus / immunology
  • Receptors, Virus / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th1 Cells / metabolism*


  • Havcr2 protein, mouse
  • Hepatitis A Virus Cellular Receptor 2
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2
  • Receptors, Virus