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Nat Immunol. 2005 Jul;6(7):698-706. Epub 2005 Jun 5.

CD70+ antigen-presenting cells control the proliferation and differentiation of T cells in the intestinal mucosa.

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The CBR Institute for Biomedical Research and Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


One unresolved issue in gut immunity is how mucosal T lymphocytes are activated and which antigen-presenting cell (APC) is critical for the regulation of this process. We have identified a unique population of APCs that is exclusively localized in the lamina propria. These APCs constitutively expressed the costimulatory molecule CD70 and had antigen-presenting functions. After oral infection of mice with Listeria monocytogenes, proliferation and differentiation of antigen-specific T cells occurred in the gut mucosa in situ and blockade of CD70 costimulation abrogated the mucosal T cell proliferation and effector functions. Thus, a potent CD70-dependent stimulation via specialized tissue-specific APCs is required for the proliferation and differentiation of gut mucosal T cells after oral infection.

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