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Lupus. 2008 Apr;17(4):289-94. doi: 10.1177/0961203307088307.

Quantitative and qualitative normal regulatory T cells are not capable of inducing suppression in SLE patients due to T-cell resistance.

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Department of Immunology and Rheumatology, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, Mexico City, Mexico.


Previous reports have suggested that regulatory T cells (Treg) are abnormal in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). In the present work, we quantified CD4+FOXP3+ Treg cells in patients with SLE and found no quantitative alterations. However, we found a clear defect in suppression assays. Surprisingly, SLE-derived Treg cells exhibited a normal phenotype and functional capacity. Conversely, SLE-derived CD4+CD25(-) effector T cells resisted suppression by autologous and allogeneic regulatory cells. Our findings strongly suggest that the defect in T-cell suppression observed in SLE is because of effector cell resistance and not because of an abnormal regulatory function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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