Understanding Th1-like Tregs and Their Role in Autoimmune Disease
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system characterized by infiltration of immune cells that damage myelin and axons. Some years ago we reported that a subpopulation of cells in charge of inhibiting autorreactive T cells and maintaining immune homeostasis, called regulatory T cells (Tregs) was defective in patients with MS. We recently described that one of the reasons for this dysregulation is the high frequency of regulatory T cells that behave as effector cells in patients with relapsing-remitting MS and are not able to suppress the proliferation of responder cells properly, displaying a phenotype characterized by the secretion of effector cytokines such as IFNΓ. Our research focuses on the characterization of the molecular signature of this new subpopulation of regulatory T cells as well as the ex vivo requirements for their generation and inhibition. Moreover, we are interested in how different therapies for MS affect the frequency and phenotype of this population of Th1-like Tregs.