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Nat Rev Immunol. 2013 Jun;13(6):461-7. doi: 10.1038/nri3464. Epub 2013 May 17.

The plasticity and stability of regulatory T cells.

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World Premier International Immunology Frontier Research Center, Osaka University, Suita 565-0871, Japan.


Regulatory T (TReg) cells are crucial for the prevention of fatal autoimmunity in mice and humans. Forkhead box P3 (FOXP3)(+) TReg cells are produced in the thymus and are also generated from conventional CD4(+) T cells in peripheral sites. It has been suggested that FOXP3(+) TReg cells might become unstable under certain inflammatory conditions and might adopt a phenotype that is more characteristic of effector CD4(+) T cells. These suggestions have caused considerable debate in the field and have important implications for the therapeutic use of TReg cells. In this article, Nature Reviews Immunology asks several experts for their views on the plasticity and stability of TReg cells.

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