Since their discovery by Steinman and Cohn in 1973, dendritic cells (DCs) have become increasingly recognized for their crucial role as regulators of innate and adaptive immunity. DCs are exquisitely adept at acquiring, processing, and presenting antigens to T cells. They also adjust the context (and hence the outcome) of antigen presentation in response to a plethora of environmental inputs that signal the occurrence of pathogens or tissue damage. Such signals generally boost DC maturation, which promotes their migration from peripheral tissues into and within secondary lymphoid organs and their capacity to induce and regulate effector T cell responses. Conversely, more recent observations indicate that DCs are also crucial to ensure immunological peace. Indeed, DCs constantly present innocuous self- and nonself-antigens in a fashion that promotes tolerance, at least in part, through the control of regulatory T cells (Tregs). Tregs are specialized T cells that exert their immunosuppressive function through a variety of mechanisms affecting both DCs and effector cells. Here, we review recent advances in our understanding of the relationship between tolerogenic DCs and Tregs.
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