Regulatory T cells in solid organ transplantation

Clin Transl Immunology. 2020 Feb 23;9(2):e01099. doi: 10.1002/cti2.1099. eCollection 2020.


The induction of graft tolerance remains the holy grail of transplantation. This is important as chronic allograft dysfunction and the side effects of immunosuppression regimens place a major burden on the lives of transplant patients and their healthcare systems. This has mandated the need to understand the immunobiology of graft rejection and identify novel therapeutics. Regulatory T (Treg) cells play an important role in modulating pro-inflammatory microenvironments and maintaining tissue homeostasis. However, there are fundamental unanswered questions regarding Treg cell immunobiology. These cells are a heterogeneous entity with functionally diverse roles. Moreover, the adoption of novel deeper immunophenotyping and genomic sequencing technologies has identified this phenotype and function to be more complex than expected. Hence, a comprehensive understanding of Treg cell heterogeneity is needed to safely and effectively exploit their therapeutic potential. From a clinical perspective, the recent decade has seen different clinical teams commence and complete first-in-man clinical trials utilising Treg cells as an adoptive cellular therapy. In this review, we discuss these trials from a translational perspective with an important focus on safety. Finally, we identify crucial knowledge gaps for future study.

Keywords: FOXP3; Treg; clinical trial; regulatory T cells; safety; transplant.

Publication types

  • Review