Cell-surface IL-7 receptor expression facilitates the purification of FOXP3(+) regulatory T cells

Trends Immunol. 2006 Dec;27(12):541-4. doi: 10.1016/j.it.2006.10.002. Epub 2006 Oct 12.


FOXP3+ regulatory T (Treg) cells have crucial roles in maintaining self-tolerance and modulating adaptive immune responses. Functional studies of Treg cells have been hampered by a lack of suitable cell-surface markers that specifically enable their purification without contamination by non-regulatory CD25+ effector T cells. Two recent studies have demonstrated that downregulation of the interleukin-7 receptor (CD127) distinguishes Treg cells from activated T cells, facilitating both Treg-cell purification and their functional characterization in human diseases. CD127 uniquely enables the purification of FOXP3+ Treg cells and, potentially, also "adaptive" regulatory T-cell subsets from the CD4+CD25- T-cell population.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Separation
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology*
  • Down-Regulation
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-2 Receptor alpha Subunit / metabolism
  • Interleukin-7 Receptor alpha Subunit / genetics
  • Interleukin-7 Receptor alpha Subunit / metabolism
  • Interleukin-7 Receptor alpha Subunit / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Models, Immunological
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / physiology*


  • FOXP3 protein, human
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Interleukin-2 Receptor alpha Subunit
  • Interleukin-7 Receptor alpha Subunit