The interaction of intestinal epithelial cells and intraepithelial lymphocytes in host defense

Yasunobu Yoshikai

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    47 Citations (Scopus)


    Intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes (i-IEL) are located at the basolateral surfaces of intestinal epithelial cells (i-EC) and play important roles in the homeostasis of intestinal microenvironment. i-IEL comprise unique T cell populations including CD4-CD8αα+ T cells expressing T cell receptor (TCR)αβ or TCRγδ and CD4+ CD8αα+ T cells expressing TCR αβ. We show here that CD4+ CD8αα+ i-IEL belongs to Th1 type T cells capable of responding to self-MHC class I on i-EC and that a significant fraction of i-IEL expressed Fas ligand (Fas-L) and induced apoptosis in the i-EC via Fas-dependent pathway. i-IEL may recognize and eliminate the effete i-EC for homeostatic regulation of intestinal epithelia. The interaction of i-EC and i-IEL through E-cadherin/α(E)β7 integrin is important for homing and maintenance of i-IEL in intestine. Listeria monocytogenes are also known to interact with E-cadherin on i-EC and invade into the epithelial cells. Invasion of L. monocytogenes into i-EC activated NFκ-B and subsequently up-regulated the expression of IL-15 gene, which has a NFκ-B binding site at the promoter region, i-IEL, especially γδ T cells, were significantly activated to produce Th1 type cytokines at the early stage after oral infection with L. monocytogenes in mice and rats. The activation of i-IEL coincided with a peak response of IL-15 production by i-EC after infection. Taken together, mutual interaction of i-IEL and i-EC may be important not only for homeostatic regulation but also host defense against microbial infection in intestine.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)219-235
    Number of pages17
    JournalImmunologic Research
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1999

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Immunology


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