Single-cell approaches to dissect adaptive immune responses involved in autoimmunity: the case of celiac disease

Mucosal Immunol. 2021 Sep 16. doi: 10.1038/s41385-021-00452-0. Online ahead of print.


Single-cell analysis is a powerful technology that has found widespread use in recent years. For diseases with involvement of adaptive immunity, single-cell analysis of antigen-specific T cells and B cells is particularly informative. In autoimmune diseases, the adaptive immune system is obviously at play, yet the ability to identify the culprit T and B cells recognizing disease-relevant antigen can be difficult. Celiac disease, a widespread disorder with autoimmune components, is unique in that disease-relevant antigens for both T cells and B cells are well defined. Furthermore, the celiac disease gut lesion is readily accessible allowing for sampling of tissue-resident cells. Thus, disease-relevant T cells and B cells from the gut and blood can be studied at the level of single cells. Here we review single-cell studies providing information on such adaptive immune cells and outline some future perspectives in the area of single-cell analysis in autoimmune diseases.

Publication types

  • Review