Oral antigen administration to induce regulatory T cells (Treg) takes advantage of regulatory mechanisms that the gastrointestinal tract utilizes to promote unresponsiveness against food antigens or commensal microorganisms. Recently, antigen-based oral immunotherapies (OITs) have shown efficacy as treatment for food allergy and autoimmune diseases. Similarly, OITs appear to prevent anti-drug antibody responses in replacement therapy for genetic diseases. Intestinal epithelial cells and microbiota possibly condition dendritic cells (DC) toward a tolerogenic phenotype that induces Treg via expression of several mediators, e.g. IL-10, transforming growth factor-β, retinoic acid. Several factors, such as metabolites derived from microbiota or diet, impact the stability and expansion of these induced Treg, which include, but are not limited to, FoxP3 Treg, LAP Treg, and/or Tr1 cells. Here, we review various orally induced Treg, their plasticity and cooperation between the Treg subsets, as well as underlying mechanisms controlling their induction and role in oral tolerance.
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