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The role of regulatory T cells in the regulation of upper airway inflammation

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Allergic rhinitis (AR) and chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps (CRSwNP) are inflammatory diseases of the upper airway, with a similar immunologic profile, characterized by aberrant and persistent type 2 inflammation. One cell population that has been identified as altered in both disease types is regulatory T cell (Treg). Tregs have the capacity to modulate T-effector function and suppress inflammatory cytokine production in a broad range of cell types. Given the ability of Tregs to control inflammation, the role of Tregs in respiratory diseases has attracted much attention. As discussed in this article, alterations in the Treg numbers and function, or both, have been identified in AR and CRSwNP, although much of the data is conflicting. Here, we explored what is known and, in many cases, unknown about the mechanisms by which Tregs differentiate and function, and how these functions can be controlled in the mucosal microenvironment. By gaining a greater understanding of these processes, it may be possible to harness the natural immunosuppressive activity of Tregs to ameliorate the chronic inflammation associated with AR and CRSwNP.
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Keywords: Allergic rhinitis; T cell; chronic rhinosinusitis; nasal polyp; regulatory T cells; rhinitis; sinusitis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA

Publication date: 01 November 2017

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