Tissue-resident memory T cells populate the human brain

Joost Smolders*, Kirstin M. Heutinck, Nina L. Fransen, Ester B.M. Remmerswaal, Pleun Hombrink, Ineke J.M. ten Berge, René A.W. van Lier, Inge Huitinga, Jörg Hamann*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Most tissues are populated by tissue-resident memory T cells (T RM cells), which are adapted to their niche and appear to be indispensable for local protection against pathogens. Here we show that human white matter-derived brain CD8 + T cells can be subsetted into CD103 CD69 + and CD103 + CD69 + T cells both with a phenotypic and transcription factor profile consistent with T RM cells. Specifically, CD103 expression in brain CD8 + T cells correlates with reduced expression of differentiation markers, increased expression of tissue-homing chemokine receptors, intermediate and low expression of the transcription factors T-bet and eomes, increased expression of PD-1 and CTLA-4, and low expression of cytolytic enzymes with preserved polyfunctionality upon activation. Brain CD4 + T cells also display T RM cell-associated markers but have low CD103 expression. We conclude that the human brain is surveilled by T RM cells, providing protection against neurotropic virus reactivation, whilst being under tight control of key immune checkpoint molecules.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4593
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes

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© 2018, The Author(s).


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