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TitleT Cells home to the thymus and control infection
Author(s)Nóbrega, Cláudia
Alves, Cláudio
Rodrigues, Bruno Cerqueira
Roque, Susana
Silva, Palmira Conceição Araújo Barreira
Behar, Samuel M.
Neves, Margarida Correia
Issue date2013
PublisherAmerican Association of Immunologists
JournalThe Journal of Immunology
Abstract(s)The thymus is a target of multiple pathogens. How the immune system responds to thymic infection is largely unknown. Despite being considered an immune-privileged organ, we detect a mycobacteria-specific T cell response in the thymus following dissemination of Mycobacterium avium or Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This response includes proinflammatory cytokine production by mycobacteria-specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells, which stimulates infected cells and controls bacterial growth in the thymus. Importantly, the responding T cells are mature peripheral T cells that recirculate back to the thymus. The recruitment of these cells is associated with an increased expression of Th1 chemokines and an enrichment of CXCR3(+) mycobacteria-specific T cells in the thymus. Finally, we demonstrate it is the mature T cells that home to the thymus that most efficiently control mycobacterial infection. Although the presence of mature T cells in the thymus has been recognized for some time, to our knowledge, these data are the first to show that T cell recirculation from the periphery to the thymus is a mechanism that allows the immune system to respond to thymic infection. Maintaining a functional thymic environment is essential to maintain T cell differentiation and prevent the emergence of central tolerance to the invading pathogens.
Publisher version
AccessOpen access
Appears in Collections:ICVS - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais com Referee

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