c-Rel is crucial for the induction of Foxp3+ regulatory CD4+ T cells but not TH17 cells

Alexander Visekruna, Magdalena Huber, Anne Hellhund, Evita Bothur, Katharina Reinhard, Nadine Bollig, Nicole Schmidt, Thorsten Joeris, Michael Lohoff, Ulrich Steinhoff

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The NF-kappa B/Rel family member c-Rel was described to be required for the development of T(H)1 responses. However, the role of c-Rel in the differentiation of T(H)17 and regulatory CD4(+)Foxp3(+) T cells (Treg) remains obscure. Here, we show that in the absence of c-Rel, in vitro differentiation of pro-inflammatory T(H)17 cells is normal. In contrast, generation of inducible Treg (iTreg) within c-Rel-deficient CD4(+) T cells was severely hampered and correlated to reduced numbers of Foxp3(+) T cells in vivo. Mechanistically, in vitro conversion of naive CD4(+) T cells into iTreg was crucially dependent on c-Rel-mediated synthesis of endogenous IL-2. The addition of exogenous IL-2 was sufficient to rescue the development of c-Rel-deficient iTreg. Thus, c-Rel is essential for the development of Foxp3(+) Treg but not for T(H)17 cells via regulating the production of IL-2.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)671-676
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


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