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Immune Netw. 2017 Jun;17(3):163-170. doi: 10.4110/in.2017.17.3.163. Epub 2017 Jun 20.

Clonal Expansion of Allergen-specific CD4+ T Cell in the Lung in the Absence of Lymph Nodes.

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Laboratory of Immune Regulation, Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Korea.
BK21 Plus Program, College of Pharmacy, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Korea.


The expansion of allergen-specific CD4+ T cells is a critical step in inducing airway inflammation during allergic asthma. Such clonal expansion of T cells is initiated through the interaction between allergen-bearing dendritic cells and allergen-specific naïve T cells in the draining lymph nodes. Whether such T cell clonal expansion also occurs in the lung, the primary organ encountering inhaled allergens, remains unclear. Compared with wild-type mice, we found similar frequencies of CD4+ T cells in the lung of lymph node-deficient Rorgtgfp/gfp mice after repeated exposure to inhaled allergens. In addition, we observed an evident population of CD4+ T cells that underwent clonal expansion in the lung of allergen-challenged mice treated with an S1P antagonist FTY720 in an in vivo proliferation study with CFSE-labeled OT-II T cells. Moreover, the expansion of allergen-specific CD4+ T cells was significantly enhanced in the lungs of Rorgtgfp/gfp mice in comparison to that of wild-type mice. These results together demonstrate that the clonal expansion of allergen-specific CD4+ T cells occurs in the absence of the lymph nodes, indicating that the lung can act as a primary site of the clonal expansion of CD4+ T cells in response to inhaled allergens.


Allergens; CD4+ T cell; Lung; Proliferation; RORγt

Conflict of interest statement

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST: The authors have no financial conflict of interest.

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