Resident T Cells Discovered in Lymph Nodes
Certain T cells remain in lymph nodes for a long time and store information about immune reactions there.
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Contrary to prior belief, certain T-cells remain in lymph nodes for a long time and store information about immune reactions there. That’s been discovered by researchers at the University of Würzburg and the RWTH Aachen.
The immune system is fast when it comes to fighting viruses, bacteria and other pathogens. But it also has to know when not to attack - for example, harmless substances such as pollen or house dust, which otherwise trigger allergic reactions. Regulatory T cells (Tregs) in the lymph nodes play a key role here, suppressing excessive or misdirected immune responses there.
Tregs store information about past immune responses
This observation was made possible by a technique called "photoconversion". It allows cells to be marked by light - with a special torch, as it were - and their changes in position to be observed over longer periods of time. "The result: each lymph node contains a unique set of resident Tregs that map past immune responses," says Prof. Wolfgang Kastenmüller, Chair of Systems Immunology I at JMU. "There they function as the local memory banks of the immune system."
Tregs play an important role in allergies and autoimmune diseases. "We now know that these cells can remain locally in lymph nodes for months," says Prof. Oliver Pabst, study leader and director of the Institute of Molecular Medicine at RWTH Aachen University Hospital. "It is exciting to ask whether this newly discovered property of the cells can also be used therapeutically - for example in allergies."
But why do some regulatory T cells remain in lymph nodes while others circulate between them? And what does the duration of their stay depend on? The Würzburg and Aachen team wants to get to the bottom of these questions.
Reference: Kaminski A, Hager FT, Kopplin L, et al. Resident regulatory T cells reflect the immune history of individual lymph nodes. Sci Immunol. 2023:eadj5789. doi: 10.1126/sciimmunol.adj5789
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