Background: Regulatory T cells (Treg) are crucial for the maintenance of immunological peripheral tolerance by controlling the activation and expansion of autoreactive cells; therefore, they make a decisive contribution to the prevention and control of autoimmune diseases. Objectives: The aims of this article are to summarize the history and role of Treg in science and medicine, to provide a brief introduction to the development and function, to explain how failures in Treg biology contribute to the development of autoimmune disease, to explain their specific role in particular rheumatic diseases and to provide an introduction to the therapeutic use of Treg in autoimmune diseases. Methods: Relevant original literature and review articles were analyzed and the results are summarized in this article. Results: Disorders in Treg biology can contribute to the development of rheumatic diseases in various ways. In addition, their capability to suppress autoimmunity renders Treg an attractive target for the treatment of rheumatic diseases. Conclusions: The concept of Treg-mediated immunoregulation has evolved into an independent field of research in immunology and medicine. First translational approaches and clinical studies confirmed the therapeutic efficacy of Treg in the treatment of autoimmune syndromes.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)