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Adv Immunol. 2003;81:331-71.

Control of autoimmunity by naturally arising regulatory CD4+ T cells.

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Laboratory of Immunopathology, Research Center for Allergy and Immunology, The Institute for Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN), Yokohama 230-0045, Japan.


Naturally acquired immunological self-tolerance is not entirely accounted for by clonal deletion, anergy, and ignorance. It is now well established that the T cell-repertoire of healthy individuals harbors self-reactive lymphocytes with a potential to cause autoimmune disease and these lymphocytes are under dominant control by a unique subpopulation of CD4+ T cells now called regulatory T cells. Efforts to delineate these Treg cells naturally present in normal individuals have revealed that they are enriched in the CD25+ CD4+ population. The identification of the CD25 molecule as a useful marker for naturally arising CD4+ regulatory T cells has made it possible to investigate many key aspects of their immunobiology, including their antigen specificities and the cellular/molecular pathways involved in their development and their mechanisms of action. Furthermore, reduction or dysfunction of the CD25+ CD4+ regulatory T cell population can be responsible for certain autoimmune diseases in humans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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