T-cell recruitment to the intestinal mucosa

Trends Immunol. 2008 Nov;29(11):514-22. doi: 10.1016/j.it.2008.08.003.


The intestinal epithelium and underlying lamina propria contains large numbers of T cells that play an important role in maintaining intestinal homeostasis and defense against intestinal pathogens. Recent years have seen several significant advances in our understanding of the mechanisms regulating T-cell localization to the intestinal mucosa. For instance, we now know that the small intestine 'imprints' gut homing properties on T cells by inducing the expression of specific integrins and chemokine receptors. Further studies have identified distinct subsets of intestinal dendritic cells that use retinoic acid to generate both gut-tropic and regulatory T cells. As our understanding of the mechanisms regulating the generation of gut tropic T-cell populations evolves, the possibility of targeting these processes for mucosal vaccine development and treatment of intestinal immune pathology become more apparent.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / immunology
  • Cell Movement / immunology*
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Mucosal / immunology*
  • Integrin alpha Chains / immunology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / cytology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology*
  • Receptors, CCR / deficiency
  • Receptors, CCR / genetics
  • Receptors, CCR / immunology
  • Receptors, CCR / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Antigens, CD
  • Integrin alpha Chains
  • Receptors, CCR
  • alpha E integrins