UNIVERSITY OF MALTA

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UNIVERSITY OF MALTA
RESEARCH SEMINARS
Abstract form
Title: The regulatory T cell in autoimmune disorders:
maestro or player in tolerance induction
Presenter: Sonia Waiczies
Contact address: Institute of Neuroimmunology, Charite Campus Mitte, NWFZ 2680
R 04.011, Schumannstr. 20-21, 10098 Berlin, Germany
Tel: 0049 30450539051
Fax: 0049 30450539906
Email: [email protected]
Presentation date: 23 December 2005
Abstract
(approximately 200-250 words)
Under normal conditions, the immune system provides countermeasures to prevent immune
cells which are armed against noxious or infectious agents from going overboard and
causing harmful autoimmune reactions. An ongoing immunological means of controlling
autoreactive T cells is tolerance, a state of immunologic unresponsiveness that begins
centrally during T cell maturation in the thymus and continues throughout the cell's life in
the periphery by a network of regulated restraints. Immune cells which are originally specific
to foreign agents but which may eventually become harmful to self are normally controlled
by mechanisms such as apoptosis or anergy. A currently expanding field in immunology is
the study of regulatory cells. These cells, commonly regulatory T cells (Tregs), are the
guards of a fully functional immune system which prevent immune reactions from becoming
dangerous to the human body. They do so by suppressing already armed effector antigenspecific T cells. The various types of regulatory T cells will be discussed and in particular
ways and means of therapeutically inducing these cells in autoimmune disorders such as
rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis.
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