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Author Notes:

Corresponding author: Mladen Jergović (mjergovi@unizq.hr)

MJ performed laboratory experiments, analysis of flow cytometry data and wrote the first draft of the manuscript.

KB, AV, TJ and SR conceived and designed the experiments.

AS and VV isolated leukocytes and performed the experiments.

AS performed statistical analyses of the data and contributed to the study design.

NA organized and conducted psychological testing and blood sampling.

All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

The authors would like to thank the staff of the General hospital “dr. Josip Benčević”, Slavonski Brod, Croatia for technical assistance, help with organization of blood drawing and immediate transportation of the samples.

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


Research Funding:

This study was financed by a grant from the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports of the Republic of Croatia (021-0212432-2434 to AS).


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Regulatory T cells
  • Autoimmunity
  • TH17 CELLS
  • PTSD
  • FOXP3

Patients with posttraumatic stress disorder exhibit an altered phenotype of regulatory T cells


Journal Title:

Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology


Volume 10, Number 1


, Pages 43-43

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Background: Regulatory T cells (Tregs) play a key role in immune homeostasis in vivo. Tregs have a critical role in preventing the development of autoimmune diseases and defects in Treg function are implicated in various autoimmune disorders. Individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have higher prevalence of autoimmune disorders than the general population. We hypothesized that war veterans with PTSD would exhibit a decreased number and/or altered phenotype of Tregs. Methods: We analyzed peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of patients with PTSD (N = 21) (mean age = 45.9) and age-matched healthy controls (N = 23) (mean age = 45.7) to determine the proportion of Tregs and their phenotype according to the expression of CD127 and HLA-DR markers which describe the differentiation stages of Tregs. In addition, we analyzed the expression of membrane ectoenzyme CD39 on Tregs of the study groups, an important component of the suppressive machinery of Tregs. Results: We found no differences in the proportion of Tregs between PTSD patients and controls, but PTSD patients had a higher percentage of CD127-HLA-DR- Tregs and a lower percentage of CD127loHLA-DR+ Tregs compared to controls. There was no difference in expression of CD39 on Tregs of the study groups. Conclusions: Although the proportions of Tregs in PTSD patients were unchanged, we found that they exhibit a different phenotype of Tregs that might be less suppressive. Impaired differentiation and function of Tregs is likely involved in disruption of immune homeostasis in PTSD.

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© 2014 Jergovic et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits making multiple copies, distribution, public display, and publicly performance, distribution of derivative works, provided the original work is properly cited. This license requires copyright and license notices be kept intact, credit be given to copyright holder and/or author.

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