Skin and heart allograft rejection solely by long-lived alloreactive T RM cells in skin of severe combined immunodeficient mice

Sci Adv. 2022 Jan 28;8(4):eabk0270. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abk0270. Epub 2022 Jan 26.


Whether induced tissue-resident memory T (TRM) cells in nonlymphoid organs alone can mediate allograft rejection is unknown. By grafting alloskin or heart into severe combined immunodeficient or Rag2KO mice in which a piece of induced CD4+ and/or CD8+ TRM cell-containing MHC-matched or syngeneic skin was transplanted in advance, we addressed this issue. The induced CD4+ TRM cells in the skin alone acutely rejected alloskin or heart grafts. RNA-seq analysis showed that induced CD4+ TRM cells in skin favorably differentiated into TH17-like polarization during the secondary immune response. Inhibition of the key TH17 signaling molecule RORγt attenuated TRM cell-mediated graft rejection. Thus, we offer a unique mouse model to specifically study TRM cell-mediated allograft rejection without the involvement of lymphocytes in lymphoid organs and tissues. Our study provides strong evidence supporting the hypothesis that long-lived alloreactive TRM cells resident in other organs/tissues substantially contribute to organ allograft rejection.