noun, plural: regulatory T cells
A T cell responsible for regulating the immune system and as such maintains tolerance to self-antigens, and thereby prevent autoimmune diseases
In mammals, the T lymphocytes (also called T cells) form in the bone marrow and attains maturity in the thymus. There are different types of T lymphocytes and one of them is regulatory T cell.
A regulatory T cell is a type of T lymphocyte involved chiefly in the regulation of the immune system. It functions by inhibiting, suppressing, or helping to stop an immune response by releasing signals to other immune cells. Its function is crucial because it prevents the immune system to go against self-antigens and therefore prevent autoimmune diseases. If the immune system fails to identify self from non-self, the immune cells would attack own cells and tissues resulting in autoimmune disease.
The molecular mechanism that regulatory T cells employ has not been fully described yet. One well-known control mechanism proposed involves interleukin-2. T cells that are activated by the recognition of antigenic peptide release interleukin-2. The interleukin-2 binds specifically to the receptors on the regulatory T cells, signaling the latter to mount a control response against the activated T cells.
The biomarkers that regulatory T cells express are CD4, CD25, and FOXP3.