Tfr cells lack IL-2Rα but express decoy IL-1R2 and IL-1Ra and suppress the IL-1–dependent activation of Tfh cells

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Science Immunology  08 Sep 2017:
Vol. 2, Issue 15, eaan0368
DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aan0368

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Immune regulation in the germinal center

Unregulated production of antibodies may contribute to the development of autoimmunity. Follicular regulatory T (Tfr) cells are thought to limit the germinal center (GC) reaction and to reduce antibody production within B cell follicles in both humans and mice, yet how Tfr cells control the GC reaction remains unclear. Ritvo et al. closely characterize Tfr cells and identify these cells as a rare population of CD4+CXCR5+PD-1+Foxp3+ cells that do not express CD25 and do not respond to interleukin-2. When compared with follicular helper T (Tfh) cells and regulatory T cells, Tfr cells clustered with Tfh cells. Moreover, they expressed decoy molecules for the interleukin-1 signaling pathway, suggesting a mechanism for the suppression of Tfh cells.