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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Dec 30;105(52):20834-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0808700106. Epub 2008 Dec 18.

Failure of T cell homing, reduced CD4/CD8alphaalpha intraepithelial lymphocytes, and inflammation in the gut of vitamin D receptor KO mice.

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Center for Immunology and Infectious Disease, Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Science, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA.


Specific pathogen-free IL-10 KO mice failed to develop inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), whereas IL-10/vitamin D receptor (VDR) double KO mice developed fulminating IBD. WT CD4 T cells inhibited experimental IBD, while VDR KO CD4 T cells failed to suppress IBD. VDR KO mice had normal numbers and functions of regulatory T cells. The percentages of IL-17- and IFN-gamma-secreting T cells in the gut of mice reconstituted with WT and VDR KO CD4 T cells were also not different. Instead, there were twice as many CD8alphaalpha intraepithelial lymphocytes (IEL) in mice that were reconstituted with WT CD4 T cells than in mice reconstituted with VDR KO CD4 T cells. Furthermore, VDR KO mice had reduced numbers of CD8alphaalpha IEL, absent CD4/CD8alphaalpha populations, and as a result low IL-10 production in the IEL. The lack of CD8alphaalpha IEL was due in part to decreased CCR9 expression on T cells that resulted in the failure of the VDR KO T cells to home to the small intestine. We conclude that the VDR mediates T cell homing to the gut and as a result the VDR KO mouse has reduced numbers of CD8alphaalpha IEL with low levels of IL-10 leading to increased inflammatory response to the normally harmless commensal flora.

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