Revival of CD8+ Treg-mediated suppression

Trends Immunol. 2008 Jul;29(7):337-42. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2008 May 29.


Despite their first recognition almost 40 years ago, CD8(+) 'suppressor' T cells remain poorly characterized. Recent studies of these lymphocytes, now popularly referred to as regulatory CD8(+) T cells (CD8(+) Tregs), have helped clarify their important role in the regulation of autoimmune disease. Here, we review progress related to the identification, phenotype and function of CD8(+) Tregs. We also focus on a newly described subset, CD8alphaalpha(+)TCRalphabeta(+) Tregs, which in mice recognize a T-cell receptor-derived peptide in the context of the class Ib major histocompatibility complex molecule Qa-1. These Tregs target only activated T cells and complement the suppression provided by CD4(+)Foxp3(+) Tregs. Investigations leading to the detailed identification, expansion, maintenance and function of CD8alphaalpha(+) Tregs should result in new therapeutic strategies for human inflammatory diseases.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance*
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Interferon-gamma / physiology
  • Interleukin-10 / physiology
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / physiology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / physiology*


  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Interleukin-10
  • Interferon-gamma