Neuropilin-1: a surface marker of regulatory T cells

Eur J Immunol. 2004 Mar;34(3):623-630. doi: 10.1002/eji.200324799.


CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells (Treg cells) control immune responsiveness to a large variety of antigens. The isolation and therapeutic manipulation of Treg cells requires the use of reliable surface receptors that are selectively up-regulated in Treg cells. On the basis of global gene expression studies, we identified neuropilin-1 (Nrp1) as a specific surface marker for CD4+CD25+ Treg cells. Nrp1, a receptor involved in axon guidance, angiogenesis, and the activation of T cells, is constitutively expressed on the surface of CD4+CD25+ Treg cells independently of their activation status. In contrast, Nrp1 expression is down-regulated in naive CD4+CD25- T cells after TCR stimulation. Furthermore, CD4+Nrp1(high) T cells express high levels of Foxp3 and suppress CD4+CD25- T cells. Thus, Nrp1 constitutes a useful surface marker to distinguish Treg cells from both naive and recently activated CD4+CD25+ non-regulatory T cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / classification*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cell Line
  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Neuropilin-1 / genetics
  • Neuropilin-1 / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / analysis
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / classification*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology


  • Biomarkers
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Foxp3 protein, mouse
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2
  • Neuropilin-1