Resident memory CD8 T cells persist for years in human small intestine

J Exp Med. 2019 Oct 7;216(10):2412-2426. doi: 10.1084/jem.20190414. Epub 2019 Jul 23.


Resident memory CD8 T (Trm) cells have been shown to provide effective protective responses in the small intestine (SI) in mice. A better understanding of the generation and persistence of SI CD8 Trm cells in humans may have implications for intestinal immune-mediated diseases and vaccine development. Analyzing normal and transplanted human SI, we demonstrated that the majority of SI CD8 T cells were bona fide CD8 Trm cells that survived for >1 yr in the graft. Intraepithelial and lamina propria CD8 Trm cells showed a high clonal overlap and a repertoire dominated by expanded clones, conserved both spatially in the intestine and over time. Functionally, lamina propria CD8 Trm cells were potent cytokine producers, exhibiting a polyfunctional (IFN-γ+ IL-2+ TNF-α+) profile, and efficiently expressed cytotoxic mediators after stimulation. These results suggest that SI CD8 Trm cells could be relevant targets for future oral vaccines and therapeutic strategies for gut disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Allografts
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Cell Survival / immunology
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Intestine, Small* / immunology
  • Intestine, Small* / pathology
  • Intestine, Small* / transplantation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Transplantation*
  • Time Factors


  • Cytokines