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Trends Immunol. 2006 Mar;27(3):109-11. Epub 2006 Feb 3.

The dichotomous role of IL-2: tolerance versus immunity.

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Department of Experimental Pathology, Institute for Frontier Medical Sciences, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8507, Japan.


Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is a well-known T-cell growth factor, which is traditionally implicated in the agonistic stimulation of immune responses. Recent work, however, has uncovered an unexpected function of this cytokine. In particular, IL-2 appears crucial to maintaining peripheral tolerance by supporting the survival and function of CD25+ CD4+ regulatory T cells. A recent study examining the role of IL-2 in the peripheral generation of regulatory T cells from apparently naïve T cells has gone some way to reconciling the seemingly opposing functions of this cytokine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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