A naturally occurring CD8 + CD122 + T-cell subset as a memory-like Treg family

Shanshan Li, Qingfeng Xie, Yuqun Zeng, Chuan Zou, Xusheng Liu, Shouhai Wu, Haixia Deng, Yang Xu, Xian C. Li, Zhenhua Dai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Despite extensive studies on CD4 + CD25 + regulatory T cells (Tregs) during the past decade, the progress on their clinical translation remains stagnant. Mounting evidence suggests that naturally occurring CD8 + CD122 + T cells are also Tregs with the capacity to inhibit T-cell responses and suppress autoimmunity as well as alloimmunity. In fact, they are memory-like Tregs that resemble a central memory T cell (T CM) phenotype. The mechanisms underlying their suppression are still not well understood, although they may include IL-10 production. We have recently demonstrated that programmed death-1 (PD-1) expression distinguishes between regulatory and memory CD8 + CD122 + T cells and that CD8 + CD122 + Tregs undergo faster homeostatic proliferation and are more potent in the suppression of allograft rejection than conventional CD4 + CD25 + Tregs. These findings may open a new line of investigation for accelerating effective Treg therapies in the clinic. In this review, we summarize the significant progress in this promising field of CD8 + CD122 + Treg research and discuss their phenotypes, suppressive roles in autoimmunity and alloimmunity, functional requirements, mechanisms of action and potential applications in the clinic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)326-331
Number of pages6
JournalCellular and Molecular Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • autoimmunity and transplant immunology
  • immune regulation
  • regulatory T cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Immunology


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