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The Roles of Regulatory T Cells in Central Nervous System Autoimmunity

  • Brooke A. Keating
  • Justin G. Lees
  • Gila Moalem-TaylorEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Contemporary Clinical Neuroscience book series (CCNE)

Abstract

Regulatory T (Treg) cells are a population of T cells that can functionally supress an immune response and are fundamental in maintaining T cell tolerance to self-antigens and immune homeostasis in the healthy individual. They exert strong suppressive functions through a variety of mechanisms, including modulation of antigen-presenting cell maturation or function, metabolic disruption, the production and secretion of anti-inflammatory cytokines and direct cytotoxicity. Treg cells are generally thought to have a beneficial role in most immune-mediated contexts, and a loss of suppressive capability and altered numbers in a variety of neurological conditions can occur. This review examines the role of Treg cells in the context of central nervous system (CNS) autoimmunity, and how they contribute to both relatively common and more rare diseases involving demyelination or degeneration of the CNS, including multiple sclerosis, neuromyelitis optica, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, anti-NMDAR encephalitis, and narcolepsy with cataplexy. Although the role of Treg cells in some of these conditions is still very much in the preliminary stages, it is a feasible notion that with more research, harnessing the innate suppressive abilities of these potent immune cells will contribute to the development of novel therapeutics in autoimmune disorders of the CNS.

Keywords

Regulatory T cells Autoimmunity Central nervous system Anti-inflammatory Suppressive 

Abbreviations

ADEM

Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis

APCs

Antigen-presenting cells

AQP4

Aquaporin 4

A2AR

Adenosine receptor 2A

BBB

Blood–brain barrier

cAMP

Cyclic adenosine monophosphate

CIS

Clinically isolated syndrome

CNS

Central nervous system

CSF

Cerebrospinal fluid

CTLA4

Cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4

DC

Dendritic cell

DEREG

DEpletion of REGulatory T cells

EAE

Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

Ebi3

Epstein–Barr virus-induced gene 3

FoxP3

Forkhead box protein 3

GM-CSF

Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor

HLA

Human leukocyte antigen

IBD

Inflammatory bowel disease

IDO

Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase

IFN

Interferon

IgG

Immunoglobulin G

IL

Interleukin

iTreg

Inducible regulatory T cell

LAG3

Lymphocyte-activation gene 3

LH

Lateral hypothalamus

MBP

Myelin basic protein

MG

Myasthenia gravis

MHV

Mouse hepatitis virus

MOG

Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein

MS

Multiple sclerosis

NMDAR

N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor

NMO

Neuromyelitis optica

NMOSD

Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders

nTreg

Natural regulatory T cell

NT1

Narcolepsy type 1

PBMCs

Peripheral blood mononuclear cells

PLP

Proteolipoprotein

PPMS

Primary progressive multiple sclerosis

RRMS

Relapsing–remitting multiple sclerosis

SPMS

Secondary progressive multiple sclerosis

TCRs

T cell receptors

TGF

Transforming growth factor

Th

T helper cell

TNF

Tumour necrosis factor

Treg

Regulatory T cell

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brooke A. Keating
    • 1
  • Justin G. Lees
    • 1
  • Gila Moalem-Taylor
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Neuropathic Pain Research Group, Translational Neuroscience FacilitySchool of Medical Sciences, University of New South Wales (UNSW)SydneyAustralia

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