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J Immunol. 2004 Apr 15;172(8):4875-82.

Activated primary and memory CD8 T cells migrate to nonlymphoid tissues regardless of site of activation or tissue of origin.

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


Following activation within secondary lymphoid tissue, CD8 T cells must migrate to targets, such as infected self tissue, allografts, and tumors, to mediate contact-dependent effector functions. To test whether the pattern of migration of activated CD8 T cells was dependent on the site of Ag encounter, we examined the distribution of mouse Ag-specific CD8 T cells following local challenges. Our findings indicated that activated CD8 T cells migrated pervasively to all nonlymphoid organs irrespective of the site of initial Ag engagement. Using an adoptive transfer system, migration of nonlymphoid memory cells was also examined. Although some limited preference for the tissue of origin was noted, transferred CD8 memory T cells from various nonlymphoid tissues migrated promiscuously, except to the intestinal mucosa, supporting the concept that distinct memory pools may exist. However, regardless of the tissue of origin, reactivation of transferred memory cells resulted in widespread dissemination of new effector cells. These data indicated that recently activated primary or memory CD8 T cells were transiently endowed with the ability to traffic to all nonlymphoid organs, while memory cell trafficking was more restricted. These observations will help refine our understanding of effector and memory CD8 T cell migration patterns.

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