Novel phenotypes and migratory properties distinguish memory CD4 T cell subsets in lymphoid and lung tissue

Eur J Immunol. 2005 Nov;35(11):3173-86. doi: 10.1002/eji.200526004.


Memory T cells are heterogeneous in expression of lymph node homing receptors, delineating "central-memory" (TCM, CD62Lhi/CCR7+) and "effector-memory" (TEM, CD62Llo/CCR7-) subsets that migrate to lymphoid and non-lymphoid tissues, respectively. It is not known how these subsets arise or how homing receptor expression and tissue origin determine their functional and migratory properties. Here, we investigated the role of CD62L expression in the generation, function, distribution and migration of heterogeneous memory CD4 T cells specific for influenza hemagglutinin (HA). We found that CD62Lhi and CD62Llo memory subsets are generated independent of CD62L expression by the activated precursor, and both subsets distribute into spleen and lung. Functionally, spleen- and lung-derived CD62L memory subsets produce effector cytokines at similar kinetics but differ strikingly in cell surface phenotype and migration: the CD62Llo memory subset expresses a classic memory phenotype (CD45RBlo/CD44hi/CD11a(hi)), while the CD62Lhi subset expresses an unconventional phenotype (CD45RBhi/CD44int/CD11a(int)), defining a new polyclonal memory subset. The CD62Lhi subset also trafficked more efficiently than CD62Llo cells into lymph nodes; however, only lung but not spleen CD62Llo memory T cells homed to lung. Our results reveal novel phenotypic heterogeneity of memory CD4 T cells co-segregating with CD62L expression and tissue-specific tropism of non-lymphoid memory CD4 T cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Cell Movement / immunology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Hemagglutinins / immunology
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Lung / cytology
  • Lung / immunology*
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Lymphoid Tissue / cytology
  • Lymphoid Tissue / immunology*
  • Lymphoid Tissue / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / cytology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism


  • Hemagglutinins