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Short courses of antibody treatment aimed at blocking the coreceptors CD4 and CD8 and/or costimulatory molecules such as CD40L are able to bring about long-term acceptance and tolerance of allogeneic transplants. This tolerant state is operational, in that potential effector cells remain but are tightly regulated through the induction of antigen-specific CD4+ regulatory T cells (Tregs). CD4+ CD25+ FoxP3+ Tregs appear to play a prominent role, although other categories of Tregs have been documented. Transforming growth factor beta (TGFbeta) has been found to play a major role in the induction of the tolerant state with therapeutic antibodies as well as promoting the induction of FoxP3+ T cells from naïve populations. The observation that Tregs can be found in tolerated grafts has led to the idea that they may interact with the grafted tissue to establish a state of acquired privilege symmetrical with a similar privileged microenvironment around antigen-presenting cells in lymphoid tissues. Dampening of aggressive immune responses by Tregs allows antigen to persist and be presented in an innocuous way to promote tolerance in new cohorts of T cells throughout the life of the tolerated graft. Regulation may operate at many stages of an immune response, even as a censor at the terminal differentiation stages of effector function.

Original publication




Journal article


Immunol Rev

Publication Date





301 - 313


Animals, Graft Rejection, Graft Survival, Infections, Mice, T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory, Transplantation Tolerance