Going round in Circles. A new regulatory cell to control autoimmunity


We have always had regulatory cells that control immune responsiveness. After the CD8 suppressor came the anergic cells, then CD4 Th1 and Th2 cells, then CD4 T regulatory cells and B regulatory cells made a brief appearrence. However, it looks like we are coming full circle and CD8 are back. A few years ago we could see that CD52 depletion was blocking immunological tolerance formation and it appears that this is controlled by a CD8 suppressor cell….This would imply that depleting CD8 T cells may not be a good thing. But as CD8 T cells were the dominant T cell in MS lesions, it is an obvious candidate for treatment with a specifc CD8 depleting antibody.

If we look back in history it was suggested that Kir (Kir4.1) was a target factor for autoimmunity in MS. It was said that most people with MS had antibodies targeting Kir….This Kir was a potassium channel but as essentially no-one could repeat the study, interest in Kir dropped. In this new study the new CD8 T cell is Kir positive, but this Kir means killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) which can deliver an inhibitory signal. These cells are elevated in MS and COVID-19. It is reported that these cells suppress pathogenic T cells in autoimmune and infectious diseases. CD8 suppressor cells were reported years ago first in the 1970s, not the 1990s,

Although it was previously accepted that most self-specific T cells were eliminated in the thymus, many such cells survive and populate the periphery. It was hypothesized that this occurs because the threat of infectious diseases necessitates a complete T cell repertoire such that even self-reactive T cells might be needed in the response to a particular pathogen and are generated to suppress autoimmune responses that could arise during infection.

These cells will get depleted by alemtuzumab. Is this a reason why autoimmunity develops. I don’t know I guess we need to look and see what happens

Li et al. T cells suppress pathogenic T cells and are active in autoimmune diseases and COVID-19
Science 2022 • DOI: 10.1126/science.abi9591

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Leave a Reply to luis fernando Cancel reply

  • Great coincidence just read the wikipedia page about KIR

    If i understand its basically Nk cells receptor and also some tcells

    Not well understood the inibitory and activation off this receptor

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