Identity of mysterious CD4+CD25-Foxp3+ cells in SLE

Arthritis Res Ther. 2010;12(1):101. doi: 10.1186/ar2894. Epub 2010 Jan 20.


Various abnormalities in CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) include increased Foxp3+ cells that are CD25 negative. Barring methodological technical factors, these cells could be atypical Tregs or activated non-Treg CD4+ cells that express Foxp3. Two groups have reached opposite conclusions that could possibly reflect the subjects studied. One group studied untreated new-onset SLE and suggested that these T cells were mostly CD25-Foxp3+ non-Tregs. The other group studied patients with long-standing disease and suggested that these cells are mostly dysfunctional Tregs. A third group reported increased Foxp3+CD4+CD25dim rather than CD25- cells in active SLE and these were also non-Tregs. Thus, it is likely that not all Foxp3+ T cells in SLE have protective suppressive activity.

Publication types

  • Comment
  • Editorial
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / immunology
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-2 Receptor alpha Subunit / immunology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / cytology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*


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