T cells out of control--impaired immune regulation in the inflamed joint

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Since the discovery of FOXP3+ regulatory T (T(REG)) cells over 15 years ago, intensive research has focused on their presence, phenotype and function in autoimmune disease. Whether deficiencies in T(REG) cells underlie autoimmune pathology and whether, or how, therapeutic approaches based on these cells might be successful is still the subject of debate. The potential role of T(REG)-cell extrinsic factors, such as proinflammatory cytokines and resistance of effector T cells to suppression, as the cause of regulatory defects in chronic autoimmune inflammation is an intensive area of research. It is now clear that, at the site of inflammation, antigen presenting cells (APCs) and proinflammatory cytokines drive effector T cell skewing and plasticity, and that these T cells can become unresponsive to regulation. In addition, expansion and function of T(REG) cells is affected by the inflammatory environment; indeed, new data suggest that, in certain conditions, T(REG) cells promote inflammation. This Review summarizes the latest findings on changes in effector T cell homeostasis in autoimmune disease and focuses on how mechanisms that normally regulate these cells are affected in the inflamed joints of patients with arthritis. These findings have important clinical implications and will affect the development of new therapeutic strategies for autoimmune arthritis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-42
Number of pages9
JournalNature Reviews. Rheumatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Animals
  • Arthritis
  • Autoimmunity
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Joints
  • Mice
  • Synovial Fluid
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory


Dive into the research topics of 'T cells out of control--impaired immune regulation in the inflamed joint'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this