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Eur J Immunol. 2004 Mar;34(3):623-630. doi: 10.1002/eji.200324799.

Neuropilin-1: a surface marker of regulatory T cells.

Author information

Department of Cell Biology and Immunology, German Research Centre for Biotechnology, Braunschweig, Germany.
Department of Visceral and Transplant Surgery, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.
Department of Dermatology, University of Münster, Münster, Germany.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA.
Institute of Medical Microbiology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.

Erratum in

  • Eur J Immunol. 2004 May;34(5):1498.


CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells (Treg cells) control immune responsiveness to a large variety of antigens. The isolation and therapeutic manipulation of Treg cells requires the use of reliable surface receptors that are selectively up-regulated in Treg cells. On the basis of global gene expression studies, we identified neuropilin-1 (Nrp1) as a specific surface marker for CD4+CD25+ Treg cells. Nrp1, a receptor involved in axon guidance, angiogenesis, and the activation of T cells, is constitutively expressed on the surface of CD4+CD25+ Treg cells independently of their activation status. In contrast, Nrp1 expression is down-regulated in naive CD4+CD25- T cells after TCR stimulation. Furthermore, CD4+Nrp1(high) T cells express high levels of Foxp3 and suppress CD4+CD25- T cells. Thus, Nrp1 constitutes a useful surface marker to distinguish Treg cells from both naive and recently activated CD4+CD25+ non-regulatory T cells.

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