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Microcirculation. 2000 Jun;7(3):201-14.

Alpha4beta1-integrin activation is necessary for high-efficiency T-cell subset interactions with VCAM-1 under flow.

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Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between alpha4beta1-integrin state of activation on CD4+ T-cell subsets and their adhesive interaction to VCAM-1 under flow.


Human CD4+ memory and naive T-cells were freshly isolated and effector-helper T-cell subsets. Th1 and Th2 cells, were differentiated in vitro from CD4+ naive T-cells. The expression of activation/ligand induced epitopes on beta1-integrins of each T-cell subset was assessed using mAb HUTS21 and mAb 15/7. T-cell subsets attachment and rolling on VCAM-1 was determined under defined flow conditions and the rates of attachment (ka), accumulation, and instantaneous rolling velocities were correlated to their beta1-integrin activation epitope expression.


A subset of memory T-cells constitutively express activation/ligand induced epitopes on beta1-integrins recognized by mAb HUTS21 and 15/7, whereas expression levels on naive T-cells is low or not detectable. Consistent with an activated phenotype, memory T-cells exhibit significantly higher rates of attachment and accumulation on VCAM-1 under flow as compared to naive T-cells. Interestingly, the expression of activation/ligand induced epitopes on beta1-integrins on Th2 cells and the ability of these cells to interact with VCAM-1 are comparable to memory T-cells. In contrast, Th1 cells did not interact as efficiently with VCAM-1, which correlated with lower expression of activation/ligand induced epitopes on these cells. VCAM-1 interactions are inhibited completely by pretreatment of the T-cells with blocking mAb to alpha4-integrins or beta1-integrins, indicating that alpha4beta1 is the predominant T-cell integrin involved.


Memory T-cells express constitutively active alpha4beta1-integrins, as compared to naive T-cells, which mediate high rates of initial attachment and sustained high-affinity adhesive interactions with VCAM-1 under flow conditions in vitro. Similarly, in vitro differentiated Th2 cells but not Th1 cells, which also express elevated levels of activated alpha4beta1-integrins, are capable of sustaining high-affinity adhesive interactions with VCAM-1. The differences observed in beta1-integrin activation on T-cell subsets may underlie selective recruitment patterns of T-cell subsets in vivo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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