Regulatory T cells reinforce intestinal homeostasis.
Barnes MJ., Powrie F.
Regulatory T cells help maintain intestinal homeostasis by preventing inappropriate innate and adaptive immune responses. CD4(+) T cells that express Foxp3 and Tr1-like cells that produce IL-10 comprise the major regulatory populations in the intestine. CD4(+)Foxp3(+) T cells play an important functional role in promoting tolerance of the flora and dietary proteins. Tr1-like cells can be generated in conditions that also promote effector T cell responses and may serve a similar function. In this review, we discuss the signals specific to the gastrointestinal tract that support both regulatory cell types and their distinct modes of action in the mesenteric lymph nodes and intestinal tissues. Dysregulation of intestinal immune homeostasis occurs in inflammatory bowel disease and can also be observed in graft-versus-host disease, tumor immunotherapy regimens, and acute HIV infection.