[Frontiers in Bioscience 12, 4042-4049, May 1, 2007]

Regulatory T cells - a journey from rodents to the clinic

Elaine T. Long, Kathryn J. Wood

Nuffield Department of Surgery, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford OX3 9DU, United Kingdom


2. Introduction
3. Evidence that Tregs play a role in maintaining graft survival
4. Mechanisms used by Tregs to prevent rejection
5. Strategies for generating Tregs in vivo
6. Future perspectives
7. Acknowledgements
8. References


Over the past decade our understanding about a subset of T lymphocytes, now termed regulatory T cells (Tregs) and previously known as suppressor T cells, has increased immensely. Tregs can induce and maintain immune tolerance and have the capacity to facilitate antigen-specific long-term graft survival successfully in animals receiving allogeneic organ transplants. The development of approaches to generate alloantigen reactive Tregs would provide an exciting and effective adjunct or alternative therapy to the life-long program of immunosuppression currently necessary to prevent graft rejection in the clinical setting. This review will focus on how rodent experimental models have helped us to figure out how Tregs could be induced in humans and harnessed to enable long-term transplant acceptance.