Published online Feb 21, 2016. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v22.i7.2195
Peer-review started: May 5, 2015
First decision: October 14, 2015
Revised: November 11, 2015
Accepted: December 8, 2015
Article in press: December 8, 2015
Published online: February 21, 2016
Regulatory T (Treg) cells play key roles in various immune responses. For example, Treg cells contribute to the complex pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis during onset or development of that disease. Many animal models of IBD have been used to investigate factors such as pathogenic cytokines, pathogenic bacteria, and T-cell functions, including those of Treg cells. In addition, analyses of patients with IBD facilitate our understanding of the precise mechanism of IBD. This review article focuses on the role of Treg cells and outlines the pathogenesis and therapeutic strategies of IBD based on previous reports.
Core tip: We review the types and functions of regulatory CD4+ T cells (Treg cells) and describe their roles in the pathologies of the inflammatory bowel diseases, i.e., Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. We have paid particular attention to the use of animal models and human studies to elucidate the mechanisms by which Treg cells influence these diseases and have provided an overview of the potential uses of these cells in therapeutic strategies.