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Mol Cells. 2019 Mar 28. doi: 10.14348/molcells.2019.2431. [Epub ahead of print]

Microbial Colonization at Early Life Promotes the Development of Diet-Induced CD8αβ Intraepithelial T Cells.

Jung J1,2, Surh CD1,2,3, Lee YJ1,2.

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Academy of Immunology and Microbiology, Institute for Basic Science (IBS), Pohang 37673, Korea.
Division of Integrative Biosciences & Biotechnology, Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), Pohang 37673, Korea.
Division of Developmental Immunology, La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology, CA 92037, USA.


Intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs) develop through the continuous interaction with intestinal antigens such as commensal microbiome and diet. However, their respective roles and mutual interactions in the development of IELs are largely unknown. Here, we showed that dietary antigens regulate the development of the majority of CD8αβ IELs in the small intestine and the absence of commensal microbiota particularly during the weaning period, delay the development of IELs. When we tested specific dietary components, such as wheat or combined corn, soybean and yeast, they were dependent on commensal bacteria for the timely development of diet-induced CD8αβ IELs. In addition, supplementation of intestinal antigens later in life was inefficient for the full induction of CD8αβ IELs. Overall, our findings suggest that early exposure to commensal bacteria is important for the proper development of dietary antigen-dependent immune repertoire in the gut.

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