A colitogenic memory CD4+ T cell population mediates gastrointestinal graft-versus-host disease

Academic Article


  • Damage to the gastrointestinal tract is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and is attributable to T cell-mediated inflammation. In this work, we identified a unique CD4+ T cell population that constitutively expresses the β2 integrin CD11c and displays a biased central memory phenotype and memory T cell transcriptional profile, innate-like properties, and increased expression of the gut-homing molecules α4β7 and CCR9. Using several complementary murine GVHD models, we determined that adoptive transfer and early accumulation of β2 integrin-expressing CD4+ T cells in the gastrointestinal tract initiated Th1-mediated proinflammatory cytokine production, augmented pathological damage in the colon, and increased mortality. The pathogenic effect of this CD4+ T cell population critically depended on coexpression of the IL-23 receptor, which was required for maximal inflammatory effects. Non-Foxp3-expressing CD4+ T cells produced IL-10, which regulated colonic inflammation and attenuated lethality in the absence of functional CD4+Foxp3+ T cells. Thus, the coordinate expression of CD11c and the IL-23 receptor defines an IL-10-regulated, colitogenic memory CD4+ T cell subset that is poised to initiate inflammation when there is loss of tolerance and breakdown of mucosal barriers.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Zhou V; Agle K; Chen X; Beres A; Komorowski R; Belle L; Taylor C; Zhu F; Haribhai D; Williams CB
  • Start Page

  • 3541
  • End Page

  • 3555
  • Volume

  • 126
  • Issue

  • 9