Fetal regulatory T cells and peripheral immune tolerance in utero: implications for development and disease.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Review)

The developing fetus must actively learn to tolerate benign antigens or suffer the consequences of broken tolerance. Tolerance of self-antigens prevents development of autoimmune diseases and is achieved by both deletion of autoreactive T cell clones in the thymus (central tolerance) and by the suppressive influence of CD4(+)  CD25(+)  FoxP3(+) regulatory T cells (Tregs) in the periphery. Fetal CD4(+) T cells have a strong predisposition to differentiate into tolerogenic Tregs that actively promote self-tolerance, as well as tolerance to non-inherited antigens on chimeric maternal cells that reside in fetal tissues. As the fetus nears birth, a crucial transition must occur between the tolerogenic fetal immune system and a more defensive adult-type immune system that is able to combat pathogens. This paper will review the unique tolerogenic nature of fetal T cells and will examine evidence for a novel model of fetal immune development: the layered immune system hypothesis.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Burt, TD

Published Date

  • April 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 69 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 346 - 358

PubMed ID

  • 23432802

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC3951896

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1600-0897

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/aji.12083


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Denmark