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Scand J Immunol. 2014 Apr;79(4):231-6. doi: 10.1111/sji.12153.

The role of T cell immunoglobulin and mucin domain-3 in immune thrombocytopenia.

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Department of Hematology, Shandong provincial Hospital affiliated to Shandong University, Jinan, China.


T cell immunoglobulin and mucin domain-3 (TIM-3), originally identified as a T helper (Th) 1-specific type I membrane protein, plays a vital role in Th1 immunity and tolerance induction through interaction with its ligand, galectin-9. The binding of TIM-3 by galectin-9 serves to downregulate Th1 responses. Moreover, the regulatory function of TIM-3 has been extended to other cells, such as Th17 cells, CD4(+) CD25(+) regulatory T cells (Tregs), CD8(+) T cells and certain innate immune cells. Previous studies have acknowledged that the TIM-3 pathway is involved in the pathogenesis of several human autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematous, rheumatoid arthritis and aplastic anaemia. Moreover, genetic data suggest a role for TIM-3 in human autoimmune diseases. However, in immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), a common Th1- and possibly Th17-biased autoimmune disorder, the role of TIM-3 has not been explored. Recently, our data have demonstrated that TIM-3 expression is reduced in ITP patients, and we have found a potential link between ITP and the TIM-3 pathway. In this article, we discuss and speculate on the role of the TIM-3 pathway in ITP.

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