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Methods Mol Biol. 2012;757:411-34. doi: 10.1007/978-1-61779-166-6_24.

T-cell homing to the gut mucosa: general concepts and methodological considerations.

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Gastrointestinal Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


Effector/memory T cells can migrate to most extra-lymphoid tissues in the body. However, migration to the intestinal mucosa requires the expression of very specific homing receptors on T cells, integrin α4β7 and chemokine receptor CCR9. These receptors are induced by all-trans retinoic acid (RA), a vitamin A metabolite that is specifically synthesized by gut-associated dendritic cells (DC), but not by extra-intestinal DC. Here we summarize some general concepts on T cell homing with an emphasis on the gut mucosa. We also discuss experimental strategies to generate gut-homing T cells in vivo and in vitro and the techniques to track gut-homing T cells.

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