Emerging concepts in tissue-resident T cells: lessons from humans

Trends Immunol. 2015 Jul;36(7):428-35. doi: 10.1016/j.it.2015.05.003. Epub 2015 Jun 10.


Intensified efforts to promote protective T cell-based immunity in vaccines and immunotherapies have created a compelling need to expand our understanding of human T cell function and maintenance beyond its characterization in peripheral blood. Mouse studies of T cell immunity show that, in response to infection, T cells migrate to diverse sites and persist as tissue-resident memory T cells (TRM), which mediate rapid in situ protection on antigen recall. Here we discuss new approaches to probe human T cell immunity, including novel sampling, that indicate a broad distribution and high frequency of human TRM in multiple sites. These newer findings further implicate anatomic compartmentalization as a generalized mechanism for long-term maintenance of human T cells throughout life.

Keywords: immune homeostasis; immune memory; mucosal immunity; naïve T cells; peripheral blood.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory / immunology*
  • Organ Specificity
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*