T Cell Regulation by the Environment
Anne L. Astier
David A. Hafler
Naïve T cells get activated upon encounter with their cognate antigen and differentiate into a specific subset of effector cells. These T cells are themselves plastic and are able to re-differentiate into another subset, changing both phenotype and function. Differentiation into a specific subset depends on the nature of the antigen and of the environmental milieu. Notably, certain nutrients, such as vitamins A and D, sodium chloride, have been shown to modulate T cell responses and influence T cell differentiation. Parasite infection can also skew Th differentiation. Similarly, the gut microbiota regulates the development of immune responses. Lastly, the key role of metabolism on T cells has also been demonstrated. This series of articles highlights some of the multiple links existing between environmental factors and T cell responses.