An integral role for heme oxygenase-1 and carbon monoxide in maintaining peripheral tolerance by CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells

Academic Article


  • Over the past decade, a great deal of interest and attention has been directed toward a population of regulatory T cells (Treg) coexpressing the markers CD4 and CD25. The hallmark phenotype of this cell population resides in its ability to dominantly maintain peripheral tolerance and avert autoimmunity. Despite robust research interest in Treg, their mechanism of action and interaction with other cell populations providing immune regulation remains unclear. In this study, we present a model for Treg activity that implicates carbon monoxide, a by-product of heme oxygenase-1 activity, as an important and underappreciated facet in the suppressive capacity of Treg. Our hypothesis is based on recent evidence supporting a role for heme oxygenase-1 in regulating immune reactivity and posit carbon monoxide to function as a suppressive molecule. Potential roles for indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase, co-stimulatory molecules, and cytokines in tolerance induction are also presented. This model, if validated, could act as a catalyst for new investigations into Treg function and ultimately result in novel methods to modulate Treg biology toward therapeutic applications. Copyright © 2005 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Brusko TM; Wasserfall CH; Agarwal A; Kapturczak MH; Atkinson MA
  • Start Page

  • 5181
  • End Page

  • 5186
  • Volume

  • 174
  • Issue

  • 9