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J Immunol. 2006 Jan 1;176(1):537-43.

Memory T cell populations in the lung airways are maintained by continual recruitment.

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  • 1Trudeau Institute, Saranac Lake, NY 12983, USA.


Effector memory T cell populations in the periphery play a key role in cellular immune responses to secondary infections. However, it is unclear how these populations are maintained under steady-state conditions in nonlymphoid peripheral sites, such as the lung airways. In this study, we show that LFA-1 expression is selectively down-regulated following entry of memory T cells into the lung airways. Using Sendai virus as a mouse model of respiratory virus infection, we use LFA-1 expression levels to demonstrate that effector memory T cell populations in the lung airways are maintained by continual recruitment of new cells from the circulation. The rate of memory cell recruitment is surprisingly rapid, resulting in replacement of 90% of the population every 10 days, and is maintained for well over 1 year following viral clearance. These data indicate that peripheral T cell memory is dynamic and depends on a systemic source of T cells.

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