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Nat Rev Immunol. 2004 Nov;4(11):841-55.

Regulatory T cells: friend or foe in immunity to infection?

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Immune Regulation Research Group, Department of Biochemistry, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland.


Homeostasis in the immune system depends on a balance between the responses that control infection and tumour growth and the reciprocal responses that prevent inflammation and autoimmune diseases. It is now recognized that regulatory T cells have a crucial role in suppressing immune responses to self-antigens and in preventing autoimmune diseases. Evidence is also emerging that regulatory T cells control immune responses to bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi. This article explores the possibility that regulatory T cells can be both beneficial to the host, through limiting the immunopathology associated with anti-pathogen immune responses, and beneficial to the pathogen, through subversion of the protective immune responses of the host.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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