Previous studies have shown that some respiratory virus infections leave local populations of tissue TRM cells in the lungs which disappear as heterosubtypic immunity declines. The location of these TRM cells and their contribution to the protective CTL response have not been clearly defined. Here, fluorescence microscopy is used to show that some CD103(+) TRM cells remain embedded in the walls of the large airways long after pulmonary immunization but are absent from systemically primed mice. Viral clearance from the lungs of the locally immunized mice precedes the development of a robust Teff response in the lungs. Whereas large numbers of virus-specific CTLs collect around the bronchial tree during viral clearance, there is little involvement of the remaining lung tissue. Much larger numbers of TEM cells enter the lungs of the systemically immunized animals but do not prevent extensive viral replication or damage to the alveoli. Together, these experiments show that virus-specific antibodies and TRM cells are both required for optimal heterosubtypic immunity, whereas circulating memory CD8 T cells do not substantially alter the course of disease.
Keywords: cellular immunity; fluorescence microscopy; immunization; influenza virus.