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Trends Immunol. 2006 Aug;27(8):387-93. Epub 2006 Jun 30.

Toll-like receptors on regulatory T cells: expanding immune regulation.

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  • 1Tumor Immunology Laboratory, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Regulatory T (Treg) cells maintain peripheral tolerance and limit effector responses to prevent excessive immune-mediated tissue damage. However, recent research reveals that Treg cells also dampen the induction of immune responses and, thus, must be controlled to enable the effective protection against infections and cancer. Until now, this control of Treg-cell function has been believed to be by communication through cytokines or by stimulation through co-stimulatory molecules on antigen-presenting cells. However, new evidence has demonstrated that Treg cells can also sense pathogens directly through Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and, consequently, modify their behaviour. This review examines the ramifications of TLR engagement on Treg cells and conventional T cells, and discusses the potential role of TLRs on Treg cells and the consequences for disease therapy.

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