Keloid is an inflammatory and fibrotic disease with an unknown pathogenesis. Regulatory T cells (Tregs) of CD4+ lineage can suppress other effector CD4+ T cells and modulate the immune response. A relative decrease in the number of Tregs may be involved in the pathogenesis of inflammatory and fibrotic diseases. We therefore investigated the number of Tregs in keloids using immunohistochemistry, and examined the interaction between Tregs and keloid fibroblasts using a co-culture system. It was found that the ratio of Tregs/CD4+ T cells was lower compared with that in other common inflammatory skin conditions. In addition, Treg-enriched CD4+ T cells reduced collagen synthesis by keloid fibroblasts. Our findings suggest that a local imbalance of Tregs contributes to the development of keloids, and that correction of this imbalance might represent a novel therapeutic approach to keloid fibrosis. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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