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Keywords:

  • factor IX;
  • factor VIII;
  • hemophilia;
  • regulatory T cells;
  • tolerance

Summary.  The immune response to coagulation factors VIII or IX, in particular formation of inhibitory antibodies, complicates treatment of hemophilia. Therefore, a number of recent studies in animal models have explored novel approaches toward induction of immune tolerance in protein or gene replacement therapy. Strong evidence has emerged that regulatory T cells (Treg) are an important component of the mechanism by which tolerance is maintained and inhibitor formation, a T help dependent response, is prevented. Limited data in patients also support this concept. In particular, CD4+ CD25+ FoxP3+ Treg, whether naturally occurring or induced, have been invoked in suppression of antibody and of cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses to the therapeutic clotting factor. This review summarizes the data on this emerging concept of Treg-mediated regulation of the immune response in treatment of hemophilia, strategies and mechanisms of Treg induction and function, and the implications for development of immune tolerance protocols.