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Blood. 2012 Aug 16;120(7):1380-9. doi: 10.1182/blood-2012-02-404475. Epub 2012 May 18.

NFAT control of innate immunity.

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  • 1Singapore Immunology Network, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), 8A Biomedical Grove, Biopolis, Singapore.


The calcineurin/nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) signaling pathway mediates multiple adaptive T-cell functions, but recent studies have shown that calcineurin/NFAT signaling also contributes to innate immunity and regulates the homeostasis of innate cells. Myeloid cells, including granulocytes and dendritic cells, can promote inflammation, regulate adaptive immunity, and are essential mediators of early responses to pathogens. Microbial ligation of pattern-recognition receptors, such as TLR4, CD14, and dectin 1, is now known to induce the activation of calcineurin/NFAT signaling in myeloid cells, a finding that has provided new insights into the molecular pathways that regulate host protection. Inhibitors of calcineurin/NFAT binding, such as cyclosporine A and FK506, are broadly used in organ transplantation and can act as potent immunosuppressive drugs in a variety of different disorders. There is increasing evidence that these agents influence innate responses as well as inhibiting adaptive T-cell functions. This review focuses on the role of calcineurin/NFAT signaling in myeloid cells, which may contribute to the various unexplained effects of immunosuppressive drugs already being used in the clinic.

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