Phenotypic and functional characterisation of CD4+ T cells in the human liver

Wiggins, Benjamin George (2018). Phenotypic and functional characterisation of CD4+ T cells in the human liver. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The liver has a unique connection with the immune system; harbouring vast numbers of lymphocytes, able to instigate secondary lymphoid organ-independent naive T cell activation, and promoting potent immune tolerance. We set out to determine the effect of this unique microenvironment on the biology of CD4+ T cells at three key interaction points: following migration into the parenchyma, after short-term hepatocyte contact, and at long-term tissue-residency. Modelling transmigration through hepatocytes revealed intrinsic, disease-specific cytokine responses in blood-derived CD4+ T cells, not discernible through static co-culture. However, short-term co-culture did induce activation-independent CD69 upregulation, reliant upon cell-cell contact. This phenotype mimicked the similar hepatic CD4+ CD69INT cells that we discovered in liver tissue. Unlike CD69HI cells which represented the tissue-resident memory T cells (TRM) of the liver, CD69INT cells were the most activated population, likely able to migrate to many liver and gut niches, and singularly able to produce IL-4 and IL-10. By contrast, CD69HI TRM displayed a resting phenotype, marked for more restricted movement, and produced the best multifunctional TH1 responses following stimulation. These data demonstrate the importance of studying migration, and provide detailed characterisation of CD69HI TRM and novel CD69INT cells, along with their proposed roles and generation pathways.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Medical & Dental Sciences
School or Department: Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: Q Science > QR Microbiology
Q Science > QR Microbiology > QR180 Immunology
R Medicine > RB Pathology
R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology


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