Send to

Choose Destination
Eur J Immunol. 2019 Jan;49(1):133-143. doi: 10.1002/eji.201847759. Epub 2018 Nov 14.

Tissue-resident MAIT cell populations in human oral mucosa exhibit an activated profile and produce IL-17.

Author information

Center for Infection Medicine, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.
Division of Clinical Diagnostics and Surgery, Department of Dental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
Trauma and Reparative Medicine, PO Craniofacial diseases, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.
Department of Medicine Solna, Center for Molecular Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.
Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.
Program in Emerging Infectious Diseases, Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School, Singapore.


Mucosa-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are unconventional T lymphocytes defined by their innate-like characteristics and broad antimicrobial responsiveness. Whether MAIT cells are part of the tissue-resident defense in the oral mucosal barrier is unknown. Here, we found MAIT cells present in the buccal mucosa, with a tendency to cluster near the basement membrane, and located in both epithelium and the underlying connective tissue. Overall MAIT cell levels were similar in the mucosa compared to peripheral blood, in contrast to conventional T cells that showed an altered representation of CD4+ and CD8+ subsets. The major mucosal MAIT cell subset displayed a tissue-resident and activated profile with high expression of CD69, CD103, HLA-DR, and PD-1, as well as a skewed subset distribution with higher representation of CD4- /CD8- double-negative cells and CD8αα+ cells. Interestingly, tissue-resident MAIT cells had a specialized polyfunctional response profile with higher IL-17 levels, as assessed by polyclonal stimulus and compared to tissue nonresident and circulating populations. Furthermore, resident buccal MAIT cells were low in perforin. Together, these data indicate that MAIT cells form a part of the oral mucosal T cell compartment, where they exhibit a tissue-resident-activated profile biased toward IL-17 production.


Buccal mucosa; IL-17; MAIT cells; MR1; Oral mucosa; Tissue residency

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center