TCR diversity and Treg cells, sometimes more is more

Eur J Immunol. 2011 Nov;41(11):3097-100. doi: 10.1002/eji.201142115. Epub 2011 Oct 20.


Treg cells are critical for the maintenance of immune homeostasis and suppression of naturally occurring self-reactive T cells; however, in order to induce suppression Treg cells must first be activated via their T-cell receptor by recognition of specific antigen-MHC complexes. In this issue of the European Journal of Immunology, Föhse et al. [Eur. J. Immunol. 2011. 41: 3101-3113.] shed light on the important question of the role of TCR diversity on Treg-cell function by demonstrating that high TCR diversity is crucial for optimal Treg-cell expansion, peripheral reshaping of the Treg-cell TCR repertoire and in vivo suppressive capacity. In this Commentary, we discuss these findings and also propose a simple mathematical model to aid in the understanding of the relationship between Treg-cell TCR diversity and the level of suppression delivered by Treg cells in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*


  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell