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Trends Mol Med. 2007 Mar;13(3):108-16. Epub 2007 Jan 24.

Natural regulatory T cells: mechanisms of suppression.

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


Natural FOXP3+CD25+CD4+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) actively suppress pathological and physiological immune responses, contributing to the maintenance of immunological self-tolerance and immune homeostasis. Various molecular and cellular events have been described to explain the mechanism(s) of Treg-mediated suppression. However, none of the proposed mechanisms can explain all aspects of suppression. It is probable that various combinations of several mechanisms are operating, depending on the milieu and the type of immune responses, although there might be a single key mechanism that has a predominant role. Further studies of suppression and search for Treg-specific cell surface molecules are required for potential clinical application to treat and prevent immunological diseases and to control immune responses for the benefit of the host.

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