The immune system of vertebrates may attack its own body and cause autoimmunity diseases. To prevent autoimmunity, regulatory T cells suppress the activity of the autoreactive effector T cells, but they also interrupt normal immune reactions against foreign antigens. In this paper, we discuss the advantage of having some regulatory T cells by considering the host's ability of coping with foreign antigens and the harm of autoimmunity. Assumptions are as follows: the immature T cells reactive to abundant self-antigens are eliminated, those reactive to rare self-antigen will become regulatory T cells, and those that fail to interact with the antigens to which they are reactive will become effector T cells. Some self-reactive immature T cells may fail to interact with their own target antigens during the limited training period, and will later become effector T cells, causing autoimmunity. Analysis suggests that, having some regulatory T cells can never be advantageous to the host, if activated regulatory T cells suppress effector T cells at any location of the body (global suppression). In contrast, producing some regulatory T cells can be beneficial, if the body is composed of many compartments and regulatory T cells suppress the immune reactions only within the same compartment (localized suppression). This requires regulatory T cells to stop circulating once they are activated by their own target self-antigens.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Modelling and Simulation
- Statistics and Probability
- Applied Mathematics