Mapping of the lingual immune system reveals the presence of both regulatory and effector CD4+ T cells

L Mascarell, V Lombardi, A Zimmer, A Louise, S Tourdot, L Van Overtvelt, P Moingeon
Clinical and Experimental Allergy 2009, 39 (12): 1910-9

BACKGROUND: Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is safe and reduces both symptoms and medication requirements in patients with type I respiratory allergies. Nonetheless, immune mechanisms underlying SLIT need to be further documented.

OBJECTIVE: A detailed characterization of the lingual immune system was undertaken in mice, to investigate the presence of tolerogenic and pro-inflammatory mechanisms.

METHODS: Immune cells were characterized in lingual tissues from BALB/c mice using immunohistology and flow cytometry. Resident CD4(+) T cells were sorted and toll-like receptor (TLR) expression profiles as well as functional characterization were assessed by RT-PCR, T cell suppressive assays and cytokine gene expression, respectively.

RESULTS: Eosinophils and mast cells were only detected in submucosal tissues. No NK, NK-T, gamma/delta, CD8(+) T cells, nor B-lymphocytes were detected. Potential antigen presenting cells include various subsets of dendritic cells (CD207(+) Langerhans cells, CD11b(+)CD11c(+) myeloid cells and 120G8(+) plasmacytoid DCs) together with F4/80(+) macrophages. Noteworthy, both CD103(-) and CD103(+) CD4(+) T cells expressing TLR2 and TLR4 receptors are present along the lamina propria, in vicinity of myeloid CD11b(+)CD11c(+/-) dendritic cells. Such resident lingual CD4(+) T lymphocytes comprise both suppressive T cells as well as cells with memory/effector functions (i.e. expressing IFN gamma, IL4, IL10 and IL17 genes following stimulation), irrespective of the presence of the mucosal addressing marker CD103.

CONCLUSION: The sublingual route is pertinent to induce antigen-specific tolerance, due to (i) limited numbers of pro-inflammatory cells, rather located in submucosal tissues, (ii) co-localization of APCs and resident CD4(+) T cells with regulatory functions. Since the oral immune system can also elicit pro-inflammatory effector responses, the cytokine milieu in which allergens are presented by sublingual APCs needs to be controlled during immunotherapy (e.g. with adjuvants) in order to favour tolerance over inflammation.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"