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Sci Rep. 2016 Feb 3;6:20358. doi: 10.1038/srep20358.

Circulating and tumor-infiltrating mucosal associated invariant T (MAIT) cells in colorectal cancer patients.

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Department of Colorectal &Anal Surgery, Changchun, 130032, China.
Key Laboratory of Zoonosis Research, Ministry of Education; the First Hospital, Jilin University, Changchun, 130032, China.
Jiangsu Co-innovation Center for Prevention and Control of Important Animal Infectious Diseases and Zoonoses, Yangzhou 225009, China.


Mucosal associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are important for immune defense against infectious pathogens and regulate the pathogenesis of various inflammatory diseases. However, their roles in the development of colorectal cancer (CRC) are still unclear. This study examined the phenotype, distribution, clinical relevance and potential function of MAIT cells in CRC patients. We found that the percentages of circulating memory CD8(+) MAIT cells were significantly reduced while tumor infiltrating MAIT cells were increased, especially in patients with advanced CRC. The serum CEA levels were positively correlated with the percentages of tumor infiltrating MAIT cells in CRC patients, but negatively correlated with the percentages of circulating MAIT in advanced CRC patients. Activated circulating MAIT cells from CRC patients produced lower IFN-γ, but higher IL-17. Furthermore, higher levels of Vα7.2-Jα33, IFN-γ and IL-17A were expressed in the CRC tissues. Co-culture of activated MAIT cells with HCT116 cells enhanced IL-17 expression and induced HCT116 cell cycle arrest at G2/M phase in a contact- and dose-dependent manner, which was abrogated by treatment with anti-MR1. Therefore, MAIT cells preferably infiltrate into the solid tumor in CRC patients and may participate in the immune surveillance of CRC.

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