Identification of T helper type 1-like, Foxp3+ regulatory T cells in human autoimmune disease

Nat Med. 2011 Jun;17(6):673-5. doi: 10.1038/nm.2389. Epub 2011 May 3.


CD4(+)CD25(high)CD127(low/-) forkhead box p3 (Foxp3)(+) regulatory T cells (T(reg) cells) possess functional plasticity. Here we describe a higher frequency of T helper type 1 (T(H)1)-like, interferon-γ (IFN-γ)-secreting Foxp3(+) T cells in untreated subjects with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) as compared to healthy control individuals. In subjects treated with IFN-β, the frequency of IFN-γ(+)Foxp3(+) T cells is similar to that in healthy control subjects. In vitro, human T(reg) cells from healthy subjects acquire a T(H)1-like phenotype when cultured in the presence of interleukin-12 (IL-12). T(H)1-like T(reg) cells show reduced suppressive activity in vitro, which can partially be reversed by IFN-γ-specific antibodies or by removal of IL-12.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Autoantibodies / immunology
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / immunology*
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / physiology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular / immunology
  • Interferon-beta / therapeutic use
  • Interferon-gamma / immunology
  • Interleukin-12 / physiology
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / drug therapy
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / physiology
  • Th1 Cells / drug effects
  • Th1 Cells / immunology*
  • Th1 Cells / physiology


  • Autoantibodies
  • FOXP3 protein, human
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Interleukin-12
  • Interferon-beta
  • Interferon-gamma