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The potential for treg-enhancing therapies in nervous system pathologies

Katherine E Olson, R L Mosley,

Abstract: Summary: While inflammation may not be the cause of disease, it is well known that it contributes to disease pathogenesis across a multitude of peripheral and central nervous system disorders. Chronic and overactive inflammation due to an effector T-cell-mediated aberrant immune response ultimately leads to tissue damage and neuronal cell death. To counteract peripheral and neuroinflammatory responses, research is being focused on regulatory T cell enhancement as a therapeutic target. Regulatory T cells are an immunosuppressive subpopulation of CD4+ T helper cells essential for maintaining immune homeostasis. The cells play pivotal roles in suppressing immune responses to maintain immune tolerance. In so doing, they control T cell proliferation and pro-inflammatory cytokine production curtailing autoimmunity and inflammation. For nervous system pathologies, Treg are known to affect the onset and tempo of neural injuries. To this end, we review recent findings supporting Treg’s role in disease, as well as serving as a therapeutic agent in multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, Guillain–Barre syndrome, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. An ever-broader role for Treg in the control of neurologic disease has been shown for traumatic brain injury, stroke, neurotrophic pain, epilepsy, and psychiatric disorders. To such ends, this review serves to examine the role played by Tregs in nervous system diseases with a focus on harnessing their functional therapeutic role(s).
Keywords: regulatory T cells / autoimmunity / neurodegenerative disease / neuroimmunology / inflammation

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