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A new approach for treatment of type 1 diabetes: Phytotherapy and phytopharmacology of regulatory T cells

Type 1 diabetes (T1D), which resulting in hyperglycemia, is an autoimmune disease. This disease characterized by destruction of the insulin-secreting cells of the islets of Langerhans. The CD4 T regulatory cells (Tregs) are important for prevention of disease. Treg cells (defined as CD4+CD25+Foxp3+) have been found to play a critical role in maintaining self-tolerance and preventing autoimmune diseases. Dysfunction and decreased numbers of Tregs may lead to the development of T1D. This review article aimed to report medicinal plants and their nature-based derivatives that are effective on regulation of Tregs activity in diabetes patients. The EndNote software, Web of Science and PubMed databases were searched from 2000 through 2016 for publications on role of Tregs in diabetes. It was found that Uncaria tomentosa, Dioscorea alata, Cordyceps sinensis, Origanum vulgare, TJ-48, compound K, azaspirane, lisofylline, and curcumin can promote the function of Tregs in T1D. The reported medicinal plants and their derivatives are rich resources for diabetes treatment. They can be used more extensively for diabetes patients if be evaluated in clinical trials.