Losing Control

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Science  09 Apr 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5668, pp. 173-175
DOI: 10.1126/science.304.5668.173e

Although maintenance of T cell regulation is generally accepted as an important factor that helps to prevent autoimmunity, most of the direct evidence for this belief has come from studies in mice. Thus, in several autoimmune models a subset of CD4+CD25+ T cells can impede the activity of autoreactive T cells, but similar evidence in humans has been hard to obtain. Viglietta et al. observed that CD4+CD25+ T cells from patients with multiple sclerosis were considerably less capable of suppressing T cell responses when compared to those from healthy controls. Rather than a decrease in the overall number of CD4+CD25+ T cells, this appeared to reflect an intrinsic defect in the suppressive ability of the cells. Such a shortfall in regulatory T cell activity could underlie the onset or progression of a number of autoimmune conditions. — SJS

J. Exp. Med. 199, 10.1084/jem.20031579 (2004).

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