Regulatory T cells in autoimmune disease

Nat Immunol. 2018 Jul;19(7):665-673. doi: 10.1038/s41590-018-0120-4. Epub 2018 Jun 20.


In recent years, the understanding of regulatory T cell (Treg cell) biology has expanded considerably. Key observations have challenged the traditional definition of Treg cells and have provided insight into the underlying mechanisms responsible for the development of autoimmune diseases, with new therapeutic strategies that improve disease outcome. This Review summarizes the newer concepts of Treg cell instability, Treg cell plasticity and tissue-specific Treg cells, and their relationship to autoimmunity. Those three main concepts have changed the understanding of Treg cell biology: how they interact with other immune and non-immune cells; their functions in specific tissues; and the implications of this for the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / physiology
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*


  • FOXP3 protein, human
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Foxp3 protein, mouse