Foxp3+ T-regulatory cells (Tregs) normally serve to attenuate immune responses and are key to maintenance of immune homeostasis. Over the past decade, Treg cells have become a major focus of research for many groups, and various functional subsets have been characterized. Recently, the Ikaros family member, Helios, was reported as a marker to discriminate naturally occurring, thymic-derived Tregs from those peripherally induced from naïve CD4+ T cells. We investigated Helios expression in murine and human T cells under resting or activating conditions, using well-characterized molecules of naïve/effector/memory phenotypes, as well as a set of Treg-associated markers. We found that Helios-negative T cells are enriched for naïve T cell phenotypes and vice versa. Moreover, Helios can be induced during T cell activation and proliferation, but regresses in the same cells under resting conditions. We demonstrated comparable findings using human and murine CD4+Foxp3+ Tregs, as well as in CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Since Helios expression is associated with T cell activation and cellular division, regardless of the cell subset involved, it does not appear suitable as a marker to distinguish natural and induced Treg cells
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