The origin of FOXP3-expressing CD4+ regulatory T cells: thymus or periphery

J Clin Invest. 2003 Nov;112(9):1310-2. doi: 10.1172/JCI20274.


Naturally arising CD4+ regulatory T cells, which engage in the maintenance of immunologic self-tolerance, specifically express FOXP3, which encodes a transcription-repressor protein. Genetic defects in FOXP3 cause IPEX, an X-linked autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome. With FOXP3 as a specific marker for regulatory CD4+ T cells in humans, it is now possible to determine their origin and developmental pathway.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmune Diseases / etiology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / analysis
  • Thymus Gland / immunology*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • FOXP3 protein, human
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2