CD4+CD25+ Tregs and NKT cells: regulators regulating regulators

Trends Immunol. 2006 Jul;27(7):322-7. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2006 Jun 2.


CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) and natural killer T (NKT) cells are two populations of T lymphocytes that can independently regulate adaptive and innate immune responses. Although most studies have investigated the regulatory properties of these T-cell subsets independently of each other, recent reports have provided evidence for cross-talk between Tregs and NKT cells, and, consequently, the immunoregulatory networks are seen in a new perspective. Activated NKT cells seem to modulate quantitatively and qualitatively Treg function through IL-2-dependent mechanisms, whereas Tregs can suppress the proliferation, cytokine release and cytotoxic activity of NKT cells by cell-contact-dependent mechanisms. Importantly, Tregs and NKT cells share crucial signaling pathways that could be responsible for their concerted responses. The advances in our understanding of the interactions between distinct subsets of regulatory T cells in autoimmunity might unveil new methods for harnessing these cells with immunotherapeutic properties.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Killer Cells, Natural / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / physiology*