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Induction of colonic regulatory T cells by indigenous Clostridium species.

CD4(+) T regulatory cells (T(regs)), which express the Foxp3 transcription factor, play a critical role in the maintenance of immune homeostasis. Here, we show that in mice, T(regs) were most abundant in the colonic mucosa. The spore-forming component of indigenous intestinal microbiota, particularly clusters IV and XIVa of the genus Clostridium, promoted T(reg) cell accumulation. Colonization of mice by a defined mix of Clostridium strains provided an environment rich in transforming growth factor-β and affected Foxp3(+) T(reg) number and function in the colon. Oral inoculation of Clostridium during the early life of conventionally reared mice resulted in resistance to colitis and systemic immunoglobulin E responses in adult mice, suggesting a new therapeutic approach to autoimmunity and allergy.

Pubmed ID: 21205640


  • Atarashi K
  • Tanoue T
  • Shima T
  • Imaoka A
  • Kuwahara T
  • Momose Y
  • Cheng G
  • Yamasaki S
  • Saito T
  • Ohba Y
  • Taniguchi T
  • Takeda K
  • Hori S
  • Ivanov II
  • Umesaki Y
  • Itoh K
  • Honda K


Science (New York, N.Y.)

Publication Data

January 21, 2011

Associated Grants

  • Agency: NIDDK NIH HHS, Id: R00 DK085329
  • Agency: NIAID NIH HHS, Id: R01 AI052359
  • Agency: NIAID NIH HHS, Id: R01 AI056154

Mesh Terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Cecum
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Clostridium
  • Colitis
  • Colon
  • Feces
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Germ-Free Life
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Interleukin-10
  • Intestinal Mucosa
  • Intestine, Small
  • Metagenome
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred A
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Receptors, Pattern Recognition
  • Specific Pathogen-Free Organisms
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta