The Janus Face of CD4+CD25+ Regulatory T Cells in Cancer and Autoimmunity

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Abstract:

Regulatory T cells (Treg) encompass a heterogeneous family of T cells implicated in maintenance of tolerance to self antigens. Treg cells might be qualitatively and/or quantitatively deficient in human autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis, graft versus host disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, type I diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. In animal models of autoimmunity, infusion of ex vivo-expanded Treg cells and/or in vivo enhancement of Treg cell suppressor function by pharmacological agents and cytokines attenuate disease manifestations and restore tolerance. However, Treg cells represent a double-edged sword, as Treg cells with specificity for tumour-associated antigens contribute to cancer pathogenesis and progression. In vivo depletion of Treg cells by monoclonal antibodies and/or selected drugs is an encouraging therapeutic strategy which improves tumour eradication in animal models of cancer. In addition, elimination and/or functional inactivation of Treg cells might boost anti-tumour immunity in tumour-bearing hosts receiving anti-cancer vaccination.

The present review discusses Treg cell manipulation as a novel therapeutic strategy in cancer and autoimmunity, conditions characterised by a common regulatory basis.

Keywords: Regulatory T cell; autoimmunity; cancer; cytokines; dendritic cell

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/092986707780059599

Affiliations: Department of Hematology,Laboratory of Immunology, Catholic University Medical School, Largo A.Gemelli 8 - 00168 Rome, Italy.

Publication date: March 1, 2007

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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