Competition for IL-2 between regulatory and effector T cells to chisel immune responses

Thomas Höfer, Oleg Krichevsky, Grégoire Altan-Bonnet

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


In this review we discuss how the competition for cytokines between different cells of the immune system can shape the system wide immune response.We focus on interleukin-2 (IL-2) secretion by activated effector T cells (Teff) and on the competition for IL-2 consumption betweenTeff and regulatoryT cells (Treg).We discuss the evidence for the mechanism in which the depletion of IL-2 by Treg cells would be sufficient to suppress an autoimmune response, yet not strong enough to prevent an immune response.We present quantitative estimations and summarize our modeling effort to show that the tug-of-war between Treg and Teff cells for IL-2 molecules can be won by Treg cells in the case of weak activation of Teff leading to the suppression of the immune response. Or, for strongly activated Teff cells, it can be won byTeff cells bringing about the activation of the whole adaptive immune system. Finally, we discuss some recent applications attempting to achieve clinical effects through the modulation of IL-2 consumption by Treg compartment.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberArticle 268
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Issue numberSEP
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2012


  • Computational modeling
  • Cytokine competition
  • Il-2
  • Regulatoryt cells
  • Systems immunology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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