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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009 Apr;123(4):735-46; quiz 747-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2009.02.030.

Mechanisms and treatment of allergic disease in the big picture of regulatory T cells.

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Swiss Institute of Allergy and Asthma Research, University of Zurich, Davos, Switzerland.


Various populations of regulatory T (Treg) cells have been shown to play a central role in the maintenance of peripheral homeostasis and the establishment of controlled immune responses. Their identification as key regulators of immunologic processes in peripheral tolerance to allergens has opened an important era in the prevention and treatment of allergic diseases. Both naturally occurring CD4+CD25+ Treg cells and inducible populations of allergen-specific, IL-10-secreting Treg type 1 (T(R)1) cells inhibit allergen-specific effector cells in experimental models. Skewing of allergen-specific effector T cells to a regulatory phenotype appears to be a key event in the development of healthy immune response to allergens and successful outcome in allergen-specific immunotherapy. Forkhead box protein 3-positive CD4+CD25+ Treg cells and T(R)1 cells contribute to the control of allergen-specific immune responses in several major ways, which can be summarized as suppression of dendritic cells that support the generation of effector T cells; suppression of effector T(H)1, T(H)2, and T(H)17 cells; suppression of allergen-specific IgE and induction of IgG4; suppression of mast cells, basophils, and eosinophils; interaction with resident tissue cells and remodeling; and suppression of effector T-cell migration to tissues. Current strategies for drug development and allergen-specific immunotherapy exploit these observations, with the potential for preventive therapies and cure for allergic diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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