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Review ARTICLE

Front. Immunol., 22 June 2012 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2012.00165

Functional crosstalk between dendritic cells and Foxp3+ regulatory T cells in the maintenance of immune tolerance

  • 1 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada
  • 2 Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies Center of Excellence, Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center, Montreal General Hospital, Montreal, QC, Canada

Peripheral immune tolerance requires a controlled balance between the maintenance of self-tolerance and the capacity to engage protective immune responses against pathogens. Dendritic cells (DCs) serve as sentinels of the immune system by sensing environmental and inflammatory signals, and play an essential role in the maintenance of immune tolerance. To achieve this, DC play a key role in dictating the outcome of immune responses by influencing the balance between inflammatory or Foxp3+ regulatory T (Treg) cell responses. At the heart of this immunological balance is a finely regulated DC and Treg cell crosstalk whereby Treg cells modulate DC phenotype and function, and DC drive the differentiation of Foxp3+ Treg cells in order to control immune responses. This review will focus on recent advances, which highlight the importance of this bidirectional DC and Treg cell crosstalk during the induction of tolerance and organ-specific autoimmunity. More specifically, we will discuss how Treg cells modulate DC function for the suppression of inflammatory responses and how DC subsets employ diverse mechanisms to drive differentiation of Treg cells. Finally, we will discuss the therapeutic potential of tolerogenic DCs for the induction of tolerance in autoimmune diseases.

Keywords: Foxp3, immunity, suppression, tolerance, tolerogenic DC

Citation: Kornete M and Piccirillo CA (2012) Functional crosstalk between dendritic cells and Foxp3+ regulatory T cells in the maintenance of immune tolerance.Front. Immun. 3:165. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2012.00165

Received: 05 April 2012; Paper pending published: 02 May 2012;
Accepted: 01 June 2012; Published online: 22 June 2012.

Edited by:

Francesca Granucci, University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy

Reviewed by:

Francesca Granucci, University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy
Ivan Zanoni, University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy

Copyright: © 2012 Kornete and Piccirillo. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial License, which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited.

*Correspondence: Ciriaco A. Piccirillo, Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies Center of Excellence, Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center, Montreal General Hospital, 1650 Cedar Avenue, Room L11.132, Montreal, QC, Canada H3G 1A4. e-mail: ciro.piccirillo@mcgill.ca