Inhibitory receptor agonists: the future of autoimmune disease therapeutics?

Curr Opin Immunol. 2020 Dec:67:1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.coi.2020.06.001. Epub 2020 Jun 30.


Central and peripheral tolerance both contribute to protection against autoimmunity. The pathogenesis of autoimmunity, however, can result from critical deficits or limitations in peripheral and/or central tolerance mechanisms, presenting an opportunity for therapeutic intervention. Recent advances highlight the substantial impact of inhibitory receptors (IRs), which mediate peripheral tolerance, in autoimmunity. Deletion and blockade studies in mice, IR disruption in humans, and correlation with positive disease outcomes all highlight potential clinical benefits of enhancing IR signaling (agonism)-specifically CTLA4, PD1, LAG3, TIM3 and TIGIT-to treat autoimmune disease. Although critical questions remain, IR agonists represent an unappreciated and untapped opportunity for the treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Immunologic / agonists*
  • Signal Transduction / immunology


  • Receptors, Immunologic