Regulation of CD103 expression by CD8+ T cells responding to renal allografts

Donghua Wang, Rongwen Yuan, Ye Feng, Riham El-Asady, Donna L Farber, Ronald E Gress, Philip J Lucas, Gregg A Hadley
Journal of Immunology 2004 January 1, 172 (1): 214-21
CD103 is an integrin with specificity for the epithelial cell-specific ligand, E-cadherin. Recent studies indicate that CD103 expression endows peripheral CD8 cells with a unique capacity to access the epithelial compartments of organ allografts. In the present study we used a nonvascularized mouse renal allograft model to 1) define the mechanisms regulating CD103 expression by graft-infiltrating CD8 effector populations, and 2) identify the cellular compartments in which this occurs. We report that CD8 cells responding to donor alloantigens in host lymphoid compartments do not initially express CD103, but dramatically up-regulate CD103 expression to high levels subsequent to migration to the graft site. CD103+CD8+ cells that infiltrated renal allografts exhibited a classic effector phenotype and were selectively localized to the graft site. CD8 cells expressing low levels of CD103 were also present in lymphoid compartments, but three-color analyses revealed that these are almost exclusively of naive phenotype. Adoptive transfer studies using TCR-transgenic CD8 cells demonstrated that donor-specific CD8 cells rapidly and uniformly up-regulate CD103 expression following entry into the graft site. Donor-specific CD8 cells expressing a dominant negative TGF-beta receptor were highly deficient in CD103 expression following migration to the graft, thereby implicating TGF-beta activity as a dominant controlling factor. The relevance of these data to conventional (vascularized) renal transplantation is confirmed. These data support a model in which TGF-beta activity present locally at the graft site plays a critical role in regulating CD103 expression, and hence the epitheliotropism, of CD8 effector populations that infiltrate renal allografts.

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