Systemic lupus erythematosus, regulatory T cells and pregnancy

Stephy Mathen, Stephy Varghese, Ian Crocker, Ian N. Bruce, Clare Tower

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    Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the most common autoimmune disease affecting women of reproductive age and is associated with poor maternal and fetal outcomes. CD4 +CD25 + Treg cells are a subset of T lymphocytes with potent immunosuppressive activity that play crucial roles in controlling immunological self tolerance. Evidence suggests that they are augmented in pregnancy, especially in the first trimester, suggesting an important role in early placental development. The literature describing Treg cells in SLE is conflicting, but SLE is associated with reduced numbers and functionally defective Treg cells, which may predispose pregnant women with the disease to pregnancy complications. This article discusses the role of Treg cells in SLE and pregnancy, and how these cells may contribute to poor pregnancy outcome in SLE-affected women. © 2011 Expert Reviews Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)635-648
    Number of pages13
    JournalExpert review of clinical immunology
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011


    • immune tolerance
    • pregnancy
    • systemic lupus erythematosus
    • T regulatory cells


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