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J Immunol. 2004 Jan 15;172(2):857-63.

Dendritic cell immunization route determines CD8+ T cell trafficking to inflamed skin: role for tissue microenvironment and dendritic cells in establishment of T cell-homing subsets.

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Clinical Research Group Allergology, Department of Dermatology, University of Freiburg, Hauptstrasse 7, D-79104 Freiburg, Germany.


The effector/memory T cell pool branches in homing subsets selectively trafficking to organs such as gut or skin. Little is known about the critical factors in the generation of skin-homing CD8+ T cells, although they are crucial effectors in skin-restricted immune responses such as contact hypersensitivity and melanoma defense. In this study, we show that intracutaneous, but not i.v. injection of bone marrow-derived dendritic cells induced skin-homing CD8+ T cells with up-regulated E-selectin ligand expression and effector function in contact hypersensitivity. The skin-homing potential and E-selectin ligand expression remained stable in memory phase without further Ag contact. In contrast, i.p. injection induced T cells expressing the gut-homing integrin alpha(4)beta(7). Although differential expression of these adhesion molecules was strictly associated with the immunization route, the postulated skin-homing marker CCR4 was transiently up-regulated in all conditions. Interestingly, dendritic cells from different tissues effectively induced the corresponding homing markers on T cells in vitro. Our results suggest a crucial role for the tissue microenvironment and dendritic cells in the instruction of T cells for tissue-selective homing and demonstrate that Langerhans cells are specialized to target T cells to inflamed skin.

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