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Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Immunol. | doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.02040

Targeting regulatory T cells by addressing tumor necrosis factor and its receptors in allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation and cancer

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine II, University Hospital of Wuerzburg, Germany
  • 2Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg, Germany

An intricate network of molecular and cellular actors orchestrates the delicate balance between effector immune responses and immune tolerance. The pleiotropic cytokine tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF) proves as a pivotal protagonist promoting but also suppressing immune responses. These opposite actions are accomplished through specialist cell types responding to TNF via TNF receptors TNFR1 and TNFR2. Recent findings highlight the importance of TNFR2 as a key regulator of activated natural FoxP3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) in inflammatory conditions, such as acute graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) and the tumor microenvironment. Here we review recent advances in our understanding of TNFR2 signaling in T cells and discuss how these can reconcile seemingly conflicting observations when manipulating TNF and TNFRs. As TNFR2 emerges as a new and attractive target we furthermore pinpoint strategies and potential pitfalls for therapeutic targeting of TNFR2 for cancer treatment and immune tolerance after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation.

Keywords: GVHD, Graft vs Host Disease, Tregs ( Regulatory T cells), TNFR family costimulatory receptors, TNFR2 agonists, TNFR2 antagonism

Received: 29 Mar 2019; Accepted: 12 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Beilhack and Wajant. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Andreas Beilhack, Department of Internal Medicine II, University Hospital of Wuerzburg, Wuerzburg, 81377, Germany, beilhack_a@ukw.de