Tissue-Resident Lymphocytes in the Kidney

J Am Soc Nephrol. 2018 Feb;29(2):389-399. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2017060599. Epub 2017 Nov 1.


It has become evident that nonlymphoid tissues are populated by distinct subsets of innate and adaptive lymphocytes that are characterized by minimal exchange with recirculating counterparts. Especially at barrier sites, such as the skin, gut, and lung, these tissue-resident lymphocyte populations are ideally positioned to quickly respond to pathogens and other environmental stimuli. The kidney harbors several classes of innate and innate-like lymphocytes that have been described to contribute to this tissue-resident population in other organs, including innate lymphoid cells, natural killer cells, natural killer T cells, mucosal-associated invariant T cells, and γδ T cells. Additionally, a substantial proportion of the adaptive lymphocytes that are found in the kidney displays a surface phenotype suggestive of tissue residency, such as CD69+CD4+ T cells. In this review, we summarize recent advances in the understanding of tissue-resident lymphocyte populations, review the available evidence for the existence of these populations in the kidney, and discuss the potential physiologic and pathophysiologic roles thereof in kidney.

Keywords: Immunology and pathology; cytokines; lymphocytes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Animals
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Immunologic Memory
  • Kidney / cytology*
  • Kidney / immunology*
  • Kidney Diseases / immunology*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Natural Killer T-Cells / immunology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology