Linking the gut and liver: crosstalk between regulatory T cells and mucosa-associated invariant T cells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Authors

Abstract

The gut–liver axis is increasingly considered to play a vital part in the progression of chronic inflammatory gut and liver diseases. Hence, a detailed understanding of the local and systemic regulatory mechanisms is crucial to develop novel therapeutic approaches. In this review, we discuss in-depth the roles of regulatory T cells (Tregs) and mucosal-associated invariant T cells (MAITs) within the context of inflammatory bowel disease, primary sclerosing cholangitis, and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Tregs are crucial in maintaining peripheral tolerance and preventing autoimmunity. MAIT cells have a unique ability to rapidly recognize microbial metabolites and mount a local immune response and act as a ‘biliary firewall’ at the gut and biliary epithelial barrier. We also outline how current knowledge can be exploited to develop novel therapies to control the propagation of chronic gut- and liver-related inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. We specifically focus on the nature of the Tregs’ cell therapy product and outline an adjunctive role for low-dose IL-2. All in all, it is clear that translational immunology is at crucial crossroads. The success of ongoing clinical trials in cellular therapies for inflammatory gut and liver conditions could revolutionize the treatment of these conditions and the lives of our patients in the coming years.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-314
JournalHepatology International
Volume12
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018