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Blood. 2007 Mar 1;109(5):2058-65. Epub 2006 Nov 16.

Galectin-1: a key effector of regulation mediated by CD4+CD25+ T cells.

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  • 1Immunoregulation Laboratory, Department of Nephrology and Transplantation, King's College London School of Medicine at Guy's, King's College and St Thomas' Hospitals, London, United Kingdom.


The naturally occurring population of dedicated regulatory T cells that coexpress CD4 and CD25 is known to play a key role in the maintenance of peripheral T-cell tolerance; however, their mechanism of action has remained obscure. Here we report that a member of the family of beta-galactoside-binding proteins, galectin-1, is overexpressed in regulatory T cells, and that expression is increased after activation. Most importantly, blockade of galectin-1 binding significantly reduced the inhibitory effects of human and mouse CD4+CD25+ T cells. Reduced regulatory activity was observed in CD4+CD25+ T cells obtained from galectin-1-homozygous null mutant mice. These results suggest that galectin-1 is a key effector of the regulation mediated by these cells.

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