Regulatory T cells in lung disease and transplantation

Biosci Rep. 2023 Oct 31;43(10):BSR20231331. doi: 10.1042/BSR20231331.


Pulmonary disease can refer to the disease of the lung itself or the pulmonary manifestations of systemic diseases, which are often connected to the malfunction of the immune system. Regulatory T (Treg) cells have been shown to be important in maintaining immune homeostasis and preventing inflammatory damage, including lung diseases. Given the increasing amount of evidence linking Treg cells to various pulmonary conditions, Treg cells might serve as a therapeutic strategy for the treatment of lung diseases and potentially promote lung transplant tolerance. The most potent and well-defined Treg cells are Foxp3-expressing CD4+ Treg cells, which contribute to the prevention of autoimmune lung diseases and the promotion of lung transplant rejection. The protective mechanisms of Treg cells in lung disease and transplantation involve multiple immune suppression mechanisms. This review summarizes the development, phenotype and function of CD4+Foxp3+ Treg cells. Then, we focus on the therapeutic potential of Treg cells in preventing lung disease and limiting lung transplant rejection. Furthermore, we discussed the possibility of Treg cell utilization in clinical applications. This will provide an overview of current research advances in Treg cells and their relevant application in clinics.

Keywords: Foxp3; Immunosuppression; Lung disease; Regulatory T cells; TGF-β.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Lung Diseases*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory*


  • Forkhead Transcription Factors