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Clin Exp Immunol. 2010 Jun;160(3):440-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.2010.04103.x. Epub 2010 Feb 10.

CCR6 identifies lymphoid tissue inducer cells within cryptopatches.

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Department of Medicine B, University of Münster, Münster, Germany.


The chemokine receptor CCR6 is expressed by dendritic cells, B and T cells predominantly within the organized structures of the gut-associated lymphatic tissue. Its ligand CCL20 is synthesized by the follicle-associated epithelium and is crucial for the development of M cells within Peyer's patches. In addition, lineage-negative c-kit positive lymphocytes within cryptopatches (CP) express CCR6. CCR6-deficient mice exhibit an altered intestinal immune system containing increased amounts of intraepithelial lymphocytes and show smaller Peyer's patches, while progression of cryptopatches to mature isolated lymphoid follicles (ILF) is inhibited. In this report, we show that lin(-) c-kit(+) lymphocytes express a variety of different chemokine receptors and that CCR6 identifies those cells located within CP. In contrast, cells found outside CP are positive for CXCR3 and exhibit a different surface marker profile, suggesting that at least two different populations of lin(-) c-kit(+) cells are present. The presence of CCR6 does not influence the expression of Notch molecules on lin(-) c-kit(+) cells, nor does it influence Notch ligand expression on bone marrow-derived dendritic cells. In the human gut, CCR6 identifies clusters of lymphocytes resembling murine CP. CCR6 seems to have an important role for lin(-) c-kit(+) cells inside CP, is expressed in a regulated manner and identifies potential human CP.

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