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Front Immunol. 2018 Apr 25;9:883. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.00883. eCollection 2018.

Emerging Functions of Regulatory T Cells in Tissue Homeostasis.

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Academy of Immunology and Microbiology, Institute for Basic Science (IBS), Pohang, South Korea.
Division of Integrative Biosciences and Biotechnology, Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), Pohang, South Korea.


CD4+Foxp3+ regulatory T-cells (Tregs) are a unique subset of helper T-cells, which regulate immune response and establish peripheral tolerance. Tregs not only maintain the tone and tenor of an immune response by dominant tolerance but, in recent years, have also been identified as key players in resolving tissue inflammation and as mediators of tissue healing. Apart from being diverse in their origin (thymic and peripheral) and location (lymphoid and tissue resident), Tregs are also phenotypically heterogeneous as per the orientation of ongoing immune response. In this review, we discuss the recent advances in the field of Treg biology in general, and non-lymphoid and tissue-resident Tregs in particular. We elaborate upon well-known visceral adipose tissue, colon, skin, and tumor-infiltrating Tregs and newly identified tissue Treg populations as in lungs, skeletal muscle, placenta, and other tissues. Our attempt is to differentiate Tregs based on distinctive properties of their location, origin, ligand specificity, chemotaxis, and specific suppressive mechanisms. Despite ever expanding roles in maintaining systemic homeostasis, Tregs are employed by large varieties of tumors to dampen antitumor immunity. Thus, a comprehensive understanding of Treg biology in the context of inflammation can be instrumental in effectively managing tissue transplantation, autoimmunity, and antitumor immune responses.


Foxp3; autoimmunity; immune tolerance; regeneration; regulatory T cells; regulatory T-cells; tissue Treg; tumor Treg

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