FoxP3+ Treg cells are believed to play a role in the occurrence of autoimmunity and in the determination of clinical recurrences. Contradictory reports are, however, available describing frequency and function of Treg cells during autoimmune diseases. We examined, by both polychromatic flow cytometry, and real-time RT-PCR, several Treg markers in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disease affecting the central nervous system. We found that Tregs, as defined by CD25, CD39, FoxP3, CTLA4, and GITR expression, were significantly decreased in stable MS patients as compared to healthy donors, but, surprisingly, restored to normal levels during an acute clinical attack. We conclude that Treg cells are not involved in causing clinical relapses, but rather react to inflammation in the attempt to restore homeostasis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)