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Nat Immunol. 2005 Sep;6(9):895-901. Epub 2005 Aug 14.

Chemokine receptor CCR7 guides T cell exit from peripheral tissues and entry into afferent lymphatics.

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  • 1Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases, Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, Massachusetts 02129, USA.


T cell circulation between peripheral tissues and the lymphoid compartment is critical for immunosurveillance and host defense. However, the factors that determine whether T cells remain in peripheral tissue or return to the circulation are undefined. Here we demonstrate that the chemokine receptor CCR7 is a critical signal that determines T cell exit from peripheral tissue. Both CCR7(-) and CCR7(+) effector T cells entered mouse asthmatic lung and while CCR7(-) T cells accumulated, CCR7(+) T cells continued to migrate into afferent lymph. Delivery of both CCR7(+) and CCR7(-) T cells directly into the airways showed that only CCR7(+) T cells exited the lung and entered draining lymph nodes. Our study establishes a molecular basis for T cell exit from peripheral tissues.

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