The IL-2/IL-2R system: From basic science to therapeutic applications to enhance immune regulation

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59 Scopus citations


IL-2 plays a critical role in the normal function of the immune system. A trophic factor for lymphocytes, IL-2 is required for mounting and sustaining adaptive T cell responses; however, IL-2 is also critical for immune regulation via its effects on regulatory T cells (Treg cells). Over the years, we have contributed to the understanding of the biology of IL-2 and its signaling through the IL-2 receptor and helped define the key role played by IL-2 in Treg development and function. Our data show that Treg cells have a heightened sensitivity to IL-2, which may create a therapeutic window to promote immune regulation by selective stimulation of Treg cells. We are now developing new efforts to translate this knowledge to the clinical arena, through our focused interest in Type 1 diabetes as a prototypic autoimmune disease. Specifically, we aim at developing IL-2-based therapeutic regimens and incorporate means to enhance antigen-specific Treg responses, for improved and more selective regulation of islet autoimmunity. In parallel, we are pursuing studies in preclinical models of autoimmunity and transplantation to define critical factors for successful adoptive Treg therapy and develop clinically applicable therapeutic protocols.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-209
Number of pages13
JournalImmunologic Research
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Autoimmunity
  • IL-2
  • Insulin
  • Tolerance
  • Treg cells
  • Type 1 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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