Effector and Regulatory T-cell Subsets in Autoimmunity and Tissue Inflammation


Dr V. K. Kuchroo, Center for Neurologic Diseases, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA. E-mail: vkuchroo@rics.bwh.harvard.edu


Many autoimmune diseases are driven by self-reactive T helper cells. Until recently, organ-specific autoimmune diseases were primarily associated with Th1 cells but not Th2 cells. However, the discovery of a number of new effector T-cell subsets, like Th17 and Th9 cells, and regulatory T cells, like Tregs and Tr1 cells, has changed the way we view and understand autoimmunity at cellular and molecular levels. In recent years, IL-17-producing Th17 cells have emerged as major players in autoimmunity. The complicated relationship between Th1 and Th17 cells, as well as the intricate balance between Tregs and Th17 cells, provides a basis for understanding the immunological mechanisms that induce and regulate autoimmunity. Here, we give an overview of the interplay between different effector T-cell subsets and regulatory T-cell subsets, and how they contribute to the development of autoimmunity and tissue inflammation.