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Regulatory T cells prevent catastrophic autoimmunity throughout the lifespan of mice.

Mice lacking the transcription factor Foxp3 (Foxp3(-)) lack regulatory T (T(reg)) cells and develop fatal autoimmune pathology. In Foxp3(-) mice, many activated effector T cells express self-reactive T cell receptors that are expressed in T(reg) cells in wild-type mice. Thus, in wild-type mice, most self-reactive thymocytes escaping negative selection are diverted into the T(reg) lineage, and whether T(reg) cells are critical in self-tolerance in wild-type mice remains unknown. Here, acute in vivo ablation of T(reg) cells demonstrated a vital function for T(reg) cells in neonatal and adult mice. We suggest that self-reactive T cells are continuously suppressed by T(reg) cells and that when suppression is relieved, self-reactive T cells become activated and facilitate accelerated maturation of dendritic cells.

Pubmed ID: 17136045


  • Kim JM
  • Rasmussen JP
  • Rudensky AY


Nature immunology

Publication Data

February 23, 2007

Associated Grants


Mesh Terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Autoimmunity
  • Dendritic Cells
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Kinetics
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Self Tolerance
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory