Hans Link and Bao-Guo Xiao, Division of Neurology, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
Transforming growth factor 3 (TGFp) is a cytokine produced by a multitude of cells, including T and B lymphocytes and macrophages. T cells predominantly producing TGF(3 are both CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes, and are sometimes termed TH3 cells. The pleotropic effects of TGFp include strong growth-enhancing as well as growth-inhibiting properties, depending upon the presence of other growth factors and the type of cells that it acts upon. TGFp is an important immunomodulator. The immunosuppressive property of TGFp was dis covered on characterization of a glioblastoma-derived T cell suppressor factor which, after cloning, was termed TGFp2. Mice deficient in the gene for TGFp|, generated by knockout technology, die from a wasting syndrome accompanied by inflammation in multiple organs. Although TGFp belongs to the group of cytokines with anti-inflammatory effects, it may under certain circumstances also exhibit proinflammatory activities. TGFp participates critically in mucosal tolerance to experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAF.) and myasthenia gravis
(EAMG) induced by oral or nasal administration of autoantigens, and could represent a powerful tool in the future abrogation and prevention of autoimmune diseases.
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