Review Article | Published:

Regulatory T cells in autoimmune disease

Nature Immunologyvolume 19pages665673 (2018) | Download Citation


In recent years, the understanding of regulatory T cell (Treg cell) biology has expanded considerably. Key observations have challenged the traditional definition of Treg cells and have provided insight into the underlying mechanisms responsible for the development of autoimmune diseases, with new therapeutic strategies that improve disease outcome. This Review summarizes the newer concepts of Treg cell instability, Treg cell plasticity and tissue-specific Treg cells, and their relationship to autoimmunity. Those three main concepts have changed the understanding of Treg cell biology: how they interact with other immune and non-immune cells; their functions in specific tissues; and the implications of this for the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases.

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We thank members of the Hafler and Dominguez-Villar laboratories for critical reading of the manuscript.

Author information


  1. Department of Neurology, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CN, USA

    • Margarita Dominguez-Villar
    •  & David A. Hafler
  2. Department of Immunobiology, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CN, USA

    • David A. Hafler


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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Correspondence to Margarita Dominguez-Villar or David A. Hafler.

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