Regulation of immunity by self-reactive T cells

Nature. 2005 Jun 2;435(7042):598-604. doi: 10.1038/nature03725.


A basic principle of immunology is that lymphocytes respond to foreign antigens but tolerate self tissues. For developing T cells, the ability to distinguish self from non-self is acquired in the thymus, where the majority of self-reactive cells are eliminated. Recently, however, it has become apparent that some self-reactive T cells avoid being destroyed and instead differentiate into specialized regulatory cells. This appears to be beneficial. Subpopulations of self-reactive T cells have a strong influence on self tolerance and may represent targets for therapeutic intervention to control a variety of autoimmune diseases, tumour growth and infection.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmunity / immunology*
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Humans
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / cytology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / classification
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Cytokines