Mechanism of activation-induced cell death of T cells and regulation of FasL expression

Crit Rev Immunol. 2014;34(4):301-14. doi: 10.1615/critrevimmunol.2014009988.


Activation-induced cell death (AICD) of T cells is a process for regulating the peripheral immune system. The fate of a T cell is controlled by numerous signals derived from various stimuli, such as antigens, cytokines, and chemokines. In healthy humans, overactivated or autoreactive T cells are harmful and are eliminated to maintain the immune system. AICD in T cells by Fas/FasL-mediated apoptosis is triggered by the switch from life to death through several signaling molecules. The control or distribution of Fas or FasL expression largely affects AICD of T cells. Although autoimmune diseases are considered to be induced by multiple factors, an impaired immune system with AICD by Fas/FasL-mediated apoptosis leads to the onset or development of autoimmunity. Based on published reports, this review describes the regulatory mechanisms involved in AICD of T cells by Fas/ FasL-mediated apoptosis and the associations between AICD and autoimmunity in humans and animal models.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / immunology*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / genetics
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / metabolism
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fas Ligand Protein / genetics*
  • Fas Ligand Protein / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Immune System Diseases / genetics
  • Immune System Diseases / immunology
  • Immune System Diseases / metabolism
  • Lymphocyte Activation / genetics*
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism*
  • fas Receptor / metabolism


  • Cytokines
  • Fas Ligand Protein
  • fas Receptor