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Clin Exp Immunol. 1998 Sep;113(3):386-93.

The murine buccal mucosa is an inductive site for priming class I-restricted CD8+ effector T cells in vivo.

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INSERM U404 Immunité et Vaccination, Lyon, France.


The present study shows that Langerhans cells of the buccal mucosa and the skin share a similar phenotype, including in situ expression of MHC class II, the mannose receptor DEC-205 and CD11c, and absence of the costimulatory molecules B7.1, B7.2 and CD40 as well as Fas. Application of 2,4-dinitrofluorobenzene (DNFB) onto the buccal mucosa is associated with a rapid migration of dendritic cells (DC) to the epithelium and induction of B7.2 expression on some DC. Buccal sensitization with DNFB elicited a specific contact sensitivity (CS) in response to skin challenge, mediated by class I-restricted CD8+ effector T cells and down-regulated by class II-restricted CD4+ T cells, demonstrated by the lack of priming of class I-deficient mice and the enhanced response of class II-deficient mice, respectively. CS induced by buccal immunization is associated with priming of class I-restricted CD8+ effector T cells endowed with hapten-specific cytotoxic activity. Thus, the buccal epithelium is an inductive site, equivalent to the epidermis, for the generation of CS independent of CD4 help, and of cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses mediated by class I-restricted CD8+ T cells. We propose that immunization through the buccal mucosa, which allows antigen presentation by epithelial DC efficient for priming systemic class I-restricted CD8+ CTL, may be a valuable approach for single-dose mucosal vaccination with subunit vaccines.

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