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Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Mar 3;19(3). pii: E730. doi: 10.3390/ijms19030730.

The Balance of Th17 versus Treg Cells in Autoimmunity.

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Department of Life Science, Sogang University, 35 Baekbeom-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul 04107, Korea.


T helper type 17 (Th17) cells and pTreg cells, which share a common precursor cell (the naïve CD4 T cell), require a common tumor growth factor (TGF)-β signal for initial differentiation. However, terminally differentiated cells fulfill opposite functions: Th17 cells cause autoimmunity and inflammation, whereas Treg cells inhibit these phenomena and maintain immune homeostasis. Thus, unraveling the mechanisms that affect the Th17/Treg cell balance is critical if we are to better understand autoimmunity and tolerance. Recent studies have identified many factors that influence this balance; these factors range from signaling pathways triggered by T cell receptors, costimulatory receptors, and cytokines, to various metabolic pathways and the intestinal microbiota. This review article summarizes recent advances in our understanding of the Th17/Treg balance and its implications with respect to autoimmune disease.


Foxp3; RORγt; Th17; Treg; autoimmunity; balance

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