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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 IFNg. My 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, I am also interested in how different therapies for MS affect the frequency and phenotype of this population of Th1-like Tregs.