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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2013, Article ID 174373, 8 pages
Review Article

The Paradox Role of Regulatory T Cells in Ischemic Stroke

Department of Neurology, Jinling Hospital, Nanjing University School of Medicine, Nanjing, Jiangsu 21002, China

Received 27 August 2013; Accepted 18 September 2013

Academic Editors: C. D. Jun and A. Varas

Copyright © 2013 Xiaomeng Xu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The underlying mechanism of ischemic stroke is not completely known. Regulatory T cells (Tregs), a subset of T cells, play a pivotal role in the pathophysiological process of ischemic stroke. However, there is also controversy over the role of Tregs in stroke. Hence, the function of Tregs in ischemic stroke has triggered a heated discussion recently. In this paper, we reviewed the current lines of evidence to describe the full view of Tregs in stroke. We would like to introduce the basic concepts of Tregs and then discuss their paradox function in ischemic stroke. On one side, Tregs could protect brain against ischemic injury via modulating the inflammation process. On the other side, they exaggerated the insult by causing microvascular dysfunction. They also interfered with the neurological function recovery. In addition, the reasons for this paradox role would be discussed in the review and the prospective of the clinical application of Tregs was also included. In conclusion, Tregs contributed to the outcome of ischemic stroke, while more lines of evidence are needed to understand how Tregs regulate the immune system and influence the outcome of stroke.