Interleukin-10 (IL-10)-secreting T regulatory type 1 (Tr1) cells are defined by their specific cytokine production profile, which includes the secretion of high levels of IL-10 and transforming growth factor-b (TGF-b), and by their ability to suppress antigen-specific effector T-cell responses via a cytokine-dependent mechanism. In contrast to the naturally occurring CD4+CD25+ T regulatory cells (Tregs) that emerge directly from the thymus, Tr1 cells are induced by antigen stimulation via an IL-10-dependent process in vitro and in vivo. Specialized IL-10-producing dendritic cells, such as those in an immature state or those modulated by tolerogenic stimuli, play a key role in this process. We propose to use the term Tr1 cells for all IL-10-producing T-cell populations that are induced by IL-10 and have regulatory activity. The full biological characterization of Tr1 cells has been hampered by the difficulty in generating these cells in vitro and by the lack of specific marker molecules. However, it is clear that Tr1 cells play a key role in regulating adaptive immune responses both in mice and in humans. Further work to delineate the specific molecular signature of Tr1 cells, to determine their relationship with CD4+CD25+ Tregs, and to elucidate their respective role in maintaining peripheral tolerance is crucial to advance our knowledge on this Treg subset. Furthermore, results from clinical protocols using Tr1 cells to modulate immune responses in vivo in autoimmunity, transplantation, and chronic inflammatory diseases will undoubtedly prove the biological relevance of these cells in immunotolerance
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