Diverse populations of T cells with NK cell receptors accumulate in the human intestine in health and in colorectal cancer
Doherty, Derek G.
O'Donoghue, Diarmuid P.
Hyland, John M.
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T cells expressing NK cell receptors (NKR) display rapid MHC-unrestricted cytotoxicity and potent cytokine secretion and are thought to play roles in immunity against tumors. We have quantified and characterized NKR+ T cells freshly isolated from epithelial and lamina propria layers of duodenum and colon from 16 individuals with no evidence of gastrointestinal disease and from tumor and uninvolved tissue from 19 patients with colorectal cancer. NKR+ T cell subpopulations were differentially distributed in different intestinal compartments, and CD161+ T cells accounted for over one half of T cells at all locations tested. Most intestinal CD161+ T cells expressed Â§ g TCR and either CD4 or CD8. Significant proportions expressed HLA-DR, CD69 and Fas ligand. Upon stimulation in vitro, CD161+ T cells produced IFN- + and TNF- Â§ but not IL-4. NKT cells expressing the V Â§ 24V g 11 TCR, which recognizes CD1d, were virtually absent from the intestine, but colonic cells produced IFN- + in response to the NKT cell agonist ligand Â§ -galactosylceramide. NKR+ T cells were not expanded in colonic tumors compared to adjacent uninvolved tissue. The predominance, heterogeneity and differential distribution of NKR+ T cells at different intestinal locations suggests that they are central to ntestinal immunity.
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