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Nat Med. 2000 Jul;6(7):782-9.

Identification of a previously unknown antigen-specific regulatory T cell and its mechanism of suppression.

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Department of Laboratory of Medicine and Pathobiology, Multi Organ Transplantation Program, Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, UHN, University of Toronto, Toronto, M5G, 2C4, Canada.


Despite increasing evidence for the existence of antigen-specific regulatory T cells, the mechanisms underlying suppression remain unclear. In this study we have identified and cloned a novel subset of antigen-specific regulatory T cells and demonstrated that these T cells possess a unique combination of cell surface markers and array of cytokines. The regulatory T cells are able to inhibit the function of T cells carrying the same T-cell receptor specificity and prevent skin allograft rejection in an antigen-specific, dose-dependent manner. The regulatory T cells are able to acquire alloantigen from antigen-presenting cells, present the alloantigen to activated syngeneic CD8+ T cells and then send death signals to CD8+ T cells. These findings provide a novel mechanism of regulatory T-cell-mediated, antigen-specific suppression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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