Front Immunol. 2020 ;11:253. Epub 2020 Feb 21. PMID: 32153577
The Impact of Dietary Components on Regulatory T Cells and Disease.
The rise in the prevalence of autoimmune diseases in developed societies has been associated with a change in lifestyle patterns. Among other factors, increased consumption of certain dietary components, such as table salt and fatty acids and excessive caloric intake has been associated with defective immunological tolerance. Dietary nutrients have shown to modulate the immune response by a direct effect on the function of immune cells or, indirectly, by acting on the microbiome of the gastrointestinal tract. FOXP3regulatory T cells (Tregs) suppress immune responses and are critical for maintaining peripheral tolerance and immune homeostasis, modulating chronic tissue inflammation and autoimmune disease. It is now well-recognized that Tregs show certain degree of plasticity and can gain effector functions to adapt their regulatory function to different physiological situations during an immune response. However, plasticity of Tregs might also result in conversion into effector T cells that may contribute to autoimmune pathogenesis. Yet, which environmental cues regulate Treg plasticity and function is currently poorly understood, but it is of significant importance for therapeutic purposes. Here we review the current understanding on the effect of certain dietary nutrients that characterize Western diets in Treg metabolism, stability, and function. Moreover, we will discuss the role of Tregs linking diet and autoimmunity and the potential of dietary-based interventions to modulate Treg function in disease.