ReviewHuman Immunology

Resident memory T cells in human health and disease

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Science Translational Medicine  07 Jan 2015:
Vol. 7, Issue 269, pp. 269rv1
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3010641

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Abstract

Resident memory T cells are non-recirculating memory T cells that persist long-term in epithelial barrier tissues, including the gastrointestinal tract, lung, skin, and reproductive tract. Resident memory T cells persist in the absence of antigens, have impressive effector functions, and provide rapid on-site immune protection against known pathogens in peripheral tissues. A fundamentally distinct gene expression program differentiates resident memory T cells from circulating T cells. Although these cells likely evolved to provide rapid immune protection against pathogens, autoreactive, aberrantly activated, and malignant resident memory cells contribute to numerous human inflammatory diseases including mycosis fungoides and psoriasis. This review will discuss both the science and medicine of resident memory T cells, exploring how these cells contribute to healthy immune function and discussing what is known about how these cells contribute to human inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

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