The activation state of human intrahepatic lymphocytes

Clin Exp Immunol. 2007 Jul;149(1):186-93. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.2007.03415.x. Epub 2007 May 18.


The immune tolerance induced by the liver as an allograft is difficult to reconcile with the evidence that the liver selectively accumulates activated T cells from the circulation. However, much of this information is based on murine liver lymphocytes that were isolated using enzymatic digestion. In the present study we made use of a novel resource, the lymphocytes isolated during the perfusion of living donor liver lobe prior to transplantation. These healthy human liver lymphocytes displayed surface markers indicating a high degree of activation of natural killer cells, CD56(+) T cells, CD4(+) T cells and CD8(+) T cells. These properties were independent of enzymatic treatment or the details of cell isolation. We conclude that the healthy human liver is a site of intense immunological activity.

MeSH terms

  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD56 Antigen / analysis
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Liver / immunology*
  • Living Donors
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology*


  • CD56 Antigen