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Science. 2001 Mar 23;291(5512):2413-7. Epub 2001 Mar 1.

Preferential localization of effector memory cells in nonlymphoid tissue.

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Division of Immunology, Department of Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT 06030, USA.


Many intracellular pathogens infect a broad range of host tissues, but the importance of T cells for immunity in these sites is unclear because most of our understanding of antimicrobial T cell responses comes from analyses of lymphoid tissue. Here, we show that in response to viral or bacterial infection, antigen-specific CD8 T cells migrated to nonlymphoid tissues and were present as long-lived memory cells. Strikingly, CD8 memory T cells isolated from nonlymphoid tissues exhibited effector levels of lytic activity directly ex vivo, in contrast to their splenic counterparts. These results point to the existence of a population of extralymphoid effector memory T cells poised for immediate response to infection.

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