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J Exp Med. 2003 May 19;197(10):1255-67.

Lymphocyte homing to bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue (BALT) is mediated by L-selectin/PNAd, alpha4beta1 integrin/VCAM-1, and LFA-1 adhesion pathways.

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  • 1Dept. of Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5324, USA. ebutcher@stanford.edu


Bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue (BALT) participates in airway immune responses. However, little is known about the lymphocyte-endothelial adhesion cascades that recruit lymphocytes from blood into BALT. We show that high endothelial venules (HEVs) in BALT express substantial levels of VCAM-1, in marked contrast to HEVs in other secondary lymphoid tissues. BALT HEVs also express the L-selectin ligand PNAd. Anti-L-selectin, anti-PNAd, and anti-LFA-1 mAbs almost completely block the homing of B and T lymphocytes into BALT, whereas anti-alpha4 integrin and anti-VCAM-1 mAbs inhibit homing by nearly 40%. alpha4beta7 integrin and MAdCAM-1 are not involved. Importantly, we found that mAbs against alpha4 integrin and VCAM-1 significantly block the migration of total T cells (80% memory phenotype) but not naive T and B cells to BALT. These results suggest that an adhesion cascade, which includes L-selectin/PNAd, alpha4beta1 integrin/VCAM-1, and LFA-1, targets specific lymphocyte subsets to BALT. This high level of involvement of alpha4beta1 integrin/VCAM-1 is unique among secondary lymphoid tissues, and may help unify lymphocyte migration pathways and immune responses in BALT and other bronchopulmonary tissues.

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