Resident Memory and Recirculating Memory T Cells Cooperate to Maintain Disease in a Mouse Model of Vitiligo

J Invest Dermatol. 2019 Apr;139(4):769-778. doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2018.10.032. Epub 2018 Nov 10.


Tissue resident memory T cells (Trm) form in the skin in vitiligo and persist to maintain disease, as white spots often recur rapidly after discontinuing therapy. We and others have recently described melanocyte-specific autoreactive Trm in vitiligo lesions. Here, we characterize the functional relationship between Trm and recirculating memory T cells (Tcm) in our vitiligo mouse model. We found that both Trm and Tcm sensed autoantigen in the skin long after stabilization of disease, producing IFN-γ, CXCL9, and CXCL10. Blockade of Tcm recruitment to the skin with FTY720 or depletion of Tcm with low-dose Thy1.1 antibody reversed disease, indicating that Trm cooperate with Tcm to maintain disease. Taken together, our data provide characterization of skin memory T cells in vitiligo, demonstrate that Trm and Tcm work together during disease, and indicate that targeting their survival or function may provide novel, durable treatment options for patients.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory / immunology*
  • Melanocytes / immunology*
  • Melanocytes / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Skin / immunology*
  • Skin / pathology
  • Vitiligo / immunology*
  • Vitiligo / pathology