Induction of organ-selective CD4+ regulatory T cell homing

Eur J Immunol. 2007 Apr;37(4):978-89. doi: 10.1002/eji.200636575.


Compelling evidence suggests that Foxp3(+)CD25(+)CD4(+) Treg play a fundamental role in immunoregulation. We have previously demonstrated that Treg have to enter peripheral tissues to suppress ongoing inflammation. However, relatively little is known about how Treg acquire the expression of homing receptors required for tissue- or inflammation-specific migration. Migratory properties of conventional naïve T cells are shaped by the tissue microenvironment and organ-specific dendritic cells during priming. Here, we show that this basic concept also holds true for CD25(+)CD4(+) Treg: Priming of Treg within peripheral LN led to the expression of selectin ligands, which facilitate migration into inflamed skin, whereas activation within mesenteric LN led to induction of the integrin alpha(4)beta(7), which is required for migration into mucosal tissues. Furthermore, we could establish in vitro culture systems containing either dendritic cells from mesenteric and peripheral LN, or retinoic acid and IL-12 as polarizing compounds to induce mucosa- and skin-seeking Treg, respectively. Together, our results demonstrate that Treg, similarly to conventional T cells, can be configured with organ-selective homing properties allowing efficient targeting into distinct tissues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD4 Antigens / biosynthesis
  • Cell Movement / immunology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Intestinal Mucosa / cytology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Organ Specificity / immunology
  • Receptors, Lymphocyte Homing / biosynthesis
  • Skin / cytology
  • Skin / immunology
  • Skin / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / cytology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / transplantation


  • CD4 Antigens
  • Receptors, Lymphocyte Homing