Integrin function in T-cell homing to lymphoid and nonlymphoid sites: getting there and staying there

Crit Rev Immunol. 2009;29(2):87-109. doi: 10.1615/critrevimmunol.v29.i2.10.


The continuous recirculation of naive T cells and their subsequent migration to tissue following activation is crucial for maintaining protective immunity against invading pathogens. The preferential targeting of effector and memory T cells to tissue is instructed during priming and mediated by cell surface expressed adhesion receptors such as integrins. Integrins arc involved in nearly all aspects of T-cell life, including naive T-cell circulation, activation, and finally effector T-cell trafficking and localization. Recent research has revealed that microenvironmental factors present during T-cell priming result in the specific regulation of adhesion/integrin and chemokine receptor expression. Once antigen-experienced T cells enter tissue, further changes in integrin expression may occur that arc critical for T-cell localization, retention, effector function, and survival. This review discusses the function of integrin expression on T cells and the multiple roles integrins play on naive T cells and in directing effector T-cell trafficking to nonlymphoid sites in order to maintain protective adaptive immunity at body barriers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion / immunology
  • Cell Movement / immunology*
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunological Synapses / immunology
  • Immunological Synapses / metabolism
  • Integrins / immunology*
  • Integrins / metabolism
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / immunology
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / metabolism
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology*
  • Lymph Nodes / metabolism
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Receptors, Chemokine / immunology
  • Receptors, Chemokine / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / immunology
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / metabolism


  • Cytokines
  • Integrins
  • Receptors, Chemokine
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1