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Eur J Immunol. 1998 Jun;28(6):1785-97.

Expression of selectin-binding epitopes and cytokines by CD4+ T cells repopulating scid mice with colitis.

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Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Ulm, Germany.


Recruitment into the gut of CD4+ T cells and their activation in the colonic lamina propria (LP) are key events in the development of colitis in scid mice reconstituted with CD4+ T cells from immunocompetent, congenic donor mice. This study investigated the expression of cytokines and selectin-binding epitopes by CD4+ T cells repopulating different tissues of the adoptive scid host. Cells from the inflamed colonic LP of transplanted scid mice produced high amounts of IL-12, IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha but only low amounts IL-4 and IL-10. Intracellular cytokine staining confirmed the presence of large numbers of IFN-gamma- and TNF-alpha-producing effector CD4+ T cells in the colonic LP of scid mice with colitis but also in non-inflamed tissues [spleen (S), peritoneal cavity (PC) and mesenteric lymph nodes (mLN)] of the adoptive host. Cells from these tissues furthermore produced large amounts of IL-12. Ligands for endothelial selectins are involved in recruiting T cells into inflamed tissues. We have analyzed the expression of selectin-binding epitopes on CD4+ T cells repopulating different tissues of the adoptive scid host. We found that a large fraction of CD4+ T cells from inflamed colonic LP and from non-inflamed PC, mLN and S expressed high levels of P- and E-selectin-binding epitopes (P-Lhi) in transplanted scid mice, but not in congenic, immunocompetent control mice. Although P-Lhi CD4+ T cells were enriched in IFN-gamma-producing subsets from most (but not all) tissues, we also found large numbers of in vivo generated P-Llo CD4+ T cells producing pro-inflammatory cytokines. This was in contrast to in vitro generated Th1 CD4+ T blasts that were almost exclusively P-Lhi. In this mouse model, production of Th1-type pro-inflammatory cytokines and expression of surface epitopes binding endothelial selectins are hence strikingly up-regulated in CD4+ T cells residing in inflamed and non-inflamed tissues during the development of colitis.

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