Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Immunol. 2010 Sep 15;185(6):3190-8. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.0903670. Epub 2010 Aug 18.

An interaction between kynurenine and the aryl hydrocarbon receptor can generate regulatory T cells.

Author information

Division of Transplantation, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI 53792-7375, USA.


The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) has been known to cause immunosuppression after binding dioxin. It has recently been discovered that the receptor may be central to T cell differentiation into FoxP3(+) regulatory T cells (Tregs) versus Th17 cells. In this paper, we demonstrate that kynurenine, the first breakdown product in the IDO-dependent tryptophan degradation pathway, activates the AHR. We furthermore show that this activation leads to AHR-dependent Treg generation. We additionally investigate the dependence of TGF-beta on the AHR for optimal Treg generation, which may be secondary to the upregulation of this receptor that is seen in T cells postexposure to TGF-beta. These results shed light on the relationship of IDO to the generation of Tregs, in addition to highlighting the central importance of the AHR in T cell differentiation. All tissues and cells were derived from mice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Publication types, MeSH terms, Substances, Grant support

Publication types

MeSH terms


Grant support

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center