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Treg cell therapy: How cell heterogeneity can make the difference

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Giulio Giganti, Muhammad Atif, Yasmin Mohseni, Daniela Mastronicola, Nathali Grageda, Giovanni A.M. Povoleri, Makoto Miyara, Cristiano Scottà

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Accepted/In press2020

King's Authors


CD4+CD25highCD127low/−FOXP3+ T regulatory cells are responsible for maintaining immune tolerance and controlling excessive immune responses. Treg cell use in pre-clinical animal models showed the huge therapeutic potential of these cells in immune-mediated diseases and laid the foundations for their applications in therapy in humans. Currently, there are several clinical trials utilizing the adoptive transfer of Treg cells to reduce the morbidity in autoimmune disorders, allogeneic HSC transplantation, and solid organ transplantation. However, a large part of them utilizes total Treg cells without distinction of their biological variability. Many studies on the heterogeneity of Treg cell population revealed distinct subsets with different functions in the control of the immune response and induction of peripheral tolerance. Some of these subsets also showed a role in controlling the general homeostasis of non-lymphoid tissues. All these Treg cell subsets and their peculiar properties can be therefore exploited to develop novel therapeutic approaches. This review describes these functionally distinct subsets, their phenotype, homing properties and functions in lymphoid and non-lymphoid tissues. In addition, we also discuss the limitations in using Treg cells as a cellular therapy and the strategies to enhance their efficacy.

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