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Am J Pathol. 1997 Jan;150(1):187-99.

Topographic distribution of homing receptors on B and T cells in human gut-associated lymphoid tissue: relation of L-selectin and integrin alpha 4 beta 7 to naive and memory phenotypes.

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  • 1Laboratory of Immunohistochemistry and Immunopathology, University of Oslo, National Hospital, Norway.


In mice, integrin alpha 4 beta 7 is the main receptor used by lymphocytes that home to the Peyer's patches, although L-selectin contributes to the initial interaction with high endothelial venules. Less is known about the expression and function of these adhesion molecules in humans. The distribution of L-selectin and alpha 4 beta 7 on various B- and T-cell subsets was examined in human Peyer's patches (n = 8) and appendix (n = 4), collectively called gut-associated lymphoid tissue. Multicolor immunophenotyping was performed on cryosections, and dispersed cells were examined by flow cytometry. In cryosections, CD45RA+ T cells around and within interfollicular high endothelial venules, as well as surface (s)IgD+ B lymphocytes in the follicle mantles, often expressed abundant L-selectin but only intermediate levels of alpha 4 beta 7. CD45RO+ T cells and sIgD- B cells expressed higher levels of alpha 4 beta 7 and were often located near putative efferent lymphatics; only a small fraction (< 20%) of such memory cells expressed L-selectin. By flow cytometry, considerably more T than B lymphocytes co-expressed L-selectin and alpha 4 beta 7 (40% versus 25% and 67% versus 39%, respectively). In samples with many L-selectin+ cells (> 30%), more of these lymphocytes co-expressed alpha 4 beta 7 than in samples with few L-selectin+ cells. Because L-selectin and alpha 4 beta 7 were co-expressed on lymphocytes located near high endothelial venules, and because such co-expression was relatively common when many L-selectin+ cells were present, both of these molecules might participate in homing to human gut-associated lymphoid tissue. Such homing is probably most pronounced for T lymphocytes that were found to express L-selectin and alpha 4 beta 7 more often than B lymphocytes. The selective and relatively high expression of alpha 4 beta 7 on memory cells located near efferent lymphatics indicated a different migratory capacity; after exit from gut-associated lymphoid tissue, such stimulated cells might home mainly to mucosal effector sites.

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