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J Exp Med. 2002 Jan 7;195(1):135-41.

Rapid acquisition of tissue-specific homing phenotypes by CD4(+) T cells activated in cutaneous or mucosal lymphoid tissues.

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  • 1Laboratory of Immunology and Vascular Biology, Department of Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


Effector and memory T cells can be subdivided based on their ability to traffic through peripheral tissues such as inflamed skin and intestinal lamina propria, a property controlled by expression of 'tissue-specific' adhesion and chemoattractant receptors. However, little is known about the development of these selectively homing T cell subsets, and it is unclear whether activation in cutaneous versus intestinal lymphoid organs directly results in effector/memory T cells that differentially express adhesion and chemoattractant receptors targeting them to the corresponding nonlymphoid site. We define two murine CD4(+) effector/memory T cell subsets that preferentially localize in cutaneous or intestinal lymphoid organs by their reciprocal expression of the adhesion molecules P-selectin ligand (P-lig) and alpha 4 beta 7, respectively. We show that within 2 d of systemic immunization CD4(+) T cells activated in cutaneous lymph nodes upregulate P-lig, and downregulate alpha 4 beta 7, while those responding to antigen in intestinal lymph nodes selectively express high levels of alpha 4 beta 7 and acquire responsiveness to the intestinal chemokine thymus-expressed chemokine (TECK). Thus, during an immune response, local microenvironments within cutaneous and intestinal secondary lymphoid organs differentially direct T cell expression of these adhesion and chemoattractant receptors, targeting the resulting effector T cells to the inflamed skin or intestinal lamina propria.

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