Tissue-Resident Immune Cells in Humans

Annu Rev Immunol. 2022 Apr 26:40:195-220. doi: 10.1146/annurev-immunol-093019-112809. Epub 2022 Jan 19.


Tissue-resident immune cells span both myeloid and lymphoid cell lineages, have been found in multiple human tissues, and play integral roles at all stages of the immune response, from maintaining homeostasis to responding to infectious challenges to resolution of inflammation to tissue repair. In humans, studying immune cells and responses in tissues is challenging, although recent advances in sampling and high-dimensional profiling have provided new insights into the ontogeny, maintenance, and functional role of tissue-resident immune cells. Each tissue contains a specific complement of resident immune cells. Moreover, resident immune cells for each lineage share core properties, along with tissue-specific adaptations. Here we propose a five-point checklist for defining resident immune cell types in humans and describe the currently known features of resident immune cells, their mechanisms of development, and their putative functional roles within various human organs. We also consider these aspects of resident immune cells in the context of future studies and therapeutics.

Keywords: adaptive immunity; human immune system; innate immunity; lymphoid organs; mucosal tissues.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Lineage
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Inflammation
  • Lymphocytes*