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Review

Is there a feudal hierarchy amongst regulatory immune cells? More than just Tregs

Claudia Mauri* and Natalie Carter

Author Affiliations

Centre for Rheumatology Research, University College London, Department of Medicine, Cleveland Street, W1 4JF, UK

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2009, 11:237  doi:10.1186/ar2752

Published: 4 August 2009

Abstract

Nature has provided the developing immune system with several checkpoints important for the maintenance of tolerance and the prevention of autoimmunity. The regulatory mechanisms operating in the periphery of the system are mediated by subsets of regulatory cells, now considered principal contributors to peripheral tolerance. Regulatory T cells (Tregs) have received titanic interest in the past decade, placing them at the centre of immuno-suppressive reactions. However, it has become clearer that other immune suppressive cells inhibit auto-reactivity as effectively as Tregs. The function of Tregs and other regulatory cells in rheumatoid arthritis will be discussed in this review.