Activation induces rapid and profound alterations in the trafficking of T cells

Eur J Immunol. 2000 Nov;30(11):3207-18. doi: 10.1002/1521-4141(200011)30:11<3207::AID-IMMU3207>3.0.CO;2-L.


Activation and differentiation of lymphocytes have profound effects on their trafficking. Whereas naive T cells recirculate through lymphoid organs, activated cells localize predominantly in other compartments. Here, we report that changes in migratory properties of T cells occur immediately upon activation via the TCR. One hour stimulation is enough to target T cells into lung and liver following i.v. injection. The high localization within lung and liver and the lack of recirculation through lymphoid tissues are key features of activated lymphocytes. the source, in vitro as well as in vivo activated lymphocytes show this behavior, which is not caused by increased cell size. Accumulation in the lung requires protein synthesis and is partly mediated by LFA-1, in contrast to the acquisition of liver "homing" properties. Intravital microscopy reveals firm adhesion of activated cells within periportal sinusoids of the liver. Selective homing to other organs, such as skin or mucosa, was not observed, regardless of the cell's origin. These data indicate that activation quickly switches the trafficking program of lymphocytes from recirculation to sequestration; it is tempting to speculate that especially the induced trapping in the liver has a distinct role in limiting systemic T cell responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement / immunology*
  • Female
  • Liver / immunology
  • Lung / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell