Takeshi Takahashi and Shimon Sakaguchi Pages 693 - 706 ( 14 )
A large body of evidence indicates that T cell-mediated dominant suppression of selfreactive T cells is indispensable for maintaining immunologic unresponsiveness to self-constituents (i.e., self-tolerance) and preventing autoimmune disease. CD25+CD4+ regulatory T cells naturally present in normal animals, in particular, engage in this function, as their reduction or functional abnormality leads to the development of autoimmune disease in otherwise normal animals. They are at least in part produced by the normal thymus as a functionally mature and distinct subpopulation of T cells. Recent studies have demonstrated that CD25+CD4+ regulatory T cells control not only autoimmune reactions but also other immune responses, including tumor immunity, transplantation tolerance and microbial infection. Thus, this unique population of regulatory T cells can be exploited to control pathological as well as physiological immune responses.
immunologic self-tolerance, autoimmune disease, physiological immune responses
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