Preferential accumulation of CD103(+) T cells in human livers; its association with extrathymic T cells

ArticleinJournal of Hepatology 39(6):918-24 · December 2003with2 Reads
Impact Factor: 11.34 · DOI: 10.1016/S0168-8278(03)00481-1 · Source: PubMed


    CD103, a mucosal integrin alphaEbeta7, binds to E-cadherin expressed on hepatocytes and bile duct epithelium in the liver. Although CD103+ T cells are enriched in intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes, the localization of those cells in the liver is unknown.
    We investigated whether CD103+ cells are present in human livers, and how they are associated with the intrahepatic development of T cells by flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry.
    Human livers contain significantly (P<0.001) higher percentages of CD103+ cells in CD4+ and CD8+ T cells (25.7+/-13.5 and 27.1+/-19.3%, respectively) than peripheral blood lymphocytes. Moreover, CD103+ cells in the liver, but not in peripheral blood, contained T cells with intermediate expression level of T cell receptor alphabeta. Those cells consist of mostly CD4+ and CD4-CD8- cells, and expressed low level of CD56 and interleukin-2 receptor beta chain in most of the population. These characteristics are distinct from natural killer T cells, which have been thought to be extrathymic T cells in human livers. Moreover, intrahepatic CD103+ cells expressed mRNA for recombination-activating gene-1, -2 and pre T cell receptor-alpha detected by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction.
    CD103+ T cells are preferentially accumulated in human livers, and those T cells show characteristics of extrathymic T cells.