Regulatory T cells in lung transplantation—an emerging concept
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- Neujahr, D.C. & Larsen, C.P. Semin Immunopathol (2011) 33: 117. doi:10.1007/s00281-011-0253-0
Lung transplantation represents an option for patients with a variety of end-stage lung diseases. While surgical advances have led to improvements in short-term survival, long-term survival is limited by chronic rejection termed bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS). A growing body of work is devoted to determining why some patients develop BOS. One avenue of interest that has emerged recently is the role that regulatory T cells (Tregs) may have in protection from BOS. In this review, we will discuss the evidence that Tregs are relevant to outcomes following transplant. We will discuss the relevant animal models, in vitro assays, and human observational studies that support a role for Tregs. We will also explore the interplay between injurious T cells such as Th17 cells and Tregs as well as the effect that additional cell types and chemokines have on the balance between inflammation and regulation. Finally, we will review emerging therapies which may harness the ability of Tregs to lessen the effects of BOS.