CD8+ regulatory T cells-A distinct T-cell lineage or a transient T-cell phenotype?

Hum Immunol. 2008 Nov;69(11):696-9. doi: 10.1016/j.humimm.2008.08.291. Epub 2008 Sep 24.


Regulation of the immune system is fundamental for proper immune function and homeostasis. In the periphery, regulatory T cells provide self-tolerance and protect the host from harmful autoreactive T cells. Regulatory T cells are also involved in the pathogenesis of chronic viral infectious diseases and cancer. Both the CD4(+) and the CD8(+) T cell compartments contain regulatory T cells. Although various CD4(+) regulatory T-cell subsets represent the best characterized regulatory T-cell populations, CD8(+) regulatory T cells also have strong immunosuppressive properties and are involved in the pathogenesis of various clinical conditions. In this review, we will discuss the phenotypic and functional characteristics of CD8(+) regulatory T cells in comparison to CD4(+) regulatory T cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Homeostasis / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Phenotype
  • Self Tolerance*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • Virus Diseases / immunology*