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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2010 Sep;49(9):1632-44. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/keq130. Epub 2010 May 12.

Treating arthritis by immunomodulation: is there a role for regulatory T cells?

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  • 1Department of Pediatric Immunology, Wilhelmina Children's Hospital, University Medical Center Utrecht (UMCU), Lundlaan 6, 3584 EA, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


The discovery of regulatory T cells almost 15 years ago initiated a new and exciting research area. The growing evidence for a critical role of these cells in controlling autoimmune responses has raised expectations for therapeutic application of regulatory T cells in patients with autoimmune arthritis. Here, we review recent studies investigating the presence, phenotype and function of these cells in patients with RA and juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) and consider their therapeutic potential. Both direct and indirect methods to target these cells will be discussed. Arguably, a therapeutic approach that combines multiple regulatory T-cell-enhancing strategies could be most successful for clinical application.

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