Stability of the Regulatory T Cell Lineage in Vivo

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Science  24 Sep 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5999, pp. 1667-1671
DOI: 10.1126/science.1191996

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Tissue maintenance and homeostasis can be achieved through the replacement of dying cells by differentiating precursors or self-renewal of terminally differentiated cells or relies heavily on cellular longevity in poorly regenerating tissues. Regulatory T cells (Treg cells) represent an actively dividing cell population with critical function in suppression of lethal immune-mediated inflammation. The plasticity of Treg cells has been actively debated because it could factor importantly in protective immunity or autoimmunity. By using inducible labeling and tracking of Treg cell fate in vivo, or transfers of highly purified Treg cells, we have demonstrated notable stability of this cell population under physiologic and inflammatory conditions. Our results suggest that self-renewal of mature Treg cells serves as a major mechanism of maintenance of the Treg cell lineage in adult mice.

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