43 The question of whether or not Tregs are numerically deficient

43 The question of whether or not Tregs are numerically deficient SAHA HDAC in vivo in IBD therefore warrants re-investigation using more comprehensive panels of cell surface markers and cytokines. There is also little evidence to support the possibility that intestinal Tregs are dysfunctional in IBD because Tregs isolated from the intestinal mucosa of patients with IBD

are suppressive in vitro.38,40 On the other hand, there is evidence that Tregs from inflamed colonic tissue undergo apoptosis more readily than Tregs found in non-inflamed tissue, possibly rendering the Tregs less effective.44 It is important to note, however, that the functional Treg assays in these studies selleck chemical were performed using non-specific antigen stimulation in conditions lacking many of the cytokines that would be found in the inflamed intestinal environment. Moreover, to date only suppression of T-cell responses has been examined, and the possibility that Tregs from IBD patients may lack the ability to suppress other cell types, such as antigen-presenting cells or B cells, has yet

to be investigated. Hence whether or not the inflamed mucosal environment renders Tregs dysfunctional remains unknown, as does what would happen to Tregs – i.e. would they remain suppressive – if they were administered as a cellular therapy. If the inflamed intestine has a normal number of Tregs which, at least in vitro, appear to Bumetanide be functional, then why are they unable to block inflammation? In other autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis, there is extensive evidence suggesting that the defect in immune regulation lies within the effector cell/inflammatory environment and not the Tregs themselves.45 In IBD the question of whether effector T cells show abnormal resistance to suppression in IBD has not yet been comprehensively studied but there are some studies suggesting that this may be the case. In colitic mice and humans effector T cells can be resistant to Tregs if they become insensitive to

TGF-β-mediated suppression.46,47 How the inflamed intestinal environment affects the result of Treg activity is a major outstanding question: addition of more Treg cells to a setting that is resistant to their effects may be futile. All Tregs are ultimately defined by their ability to suppress immune responses; however, nTregs, iTregs and Tr1 cells may differ in the suppressive mechanisms they employ and so have distinct advantages as therapies in mucosal diseases. nTregs are the best-studied type of Tregs and have already been successfully used in humans,12–15 but as these cells are primarily thought to be specific for self-antigens48 they may lack potency towards immune responses directed to the foreign antigens present in the gut.

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