The gastrointestinal tract is constantly exposed to a variety of potentially invasive bacteria and viruses. The first line of defense of the host against these pathogens is the intestinal mucosal surface, which consists of epithelial cells, intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs), mucus, and secretory immunoglobulins. Little is known about the function, memory, or trafficking of IELs after intestinal infection. We found that IELs obtained 6 days after oral inoculation of mice with the intestinal pathogen rotavirus (simian strain RRV) lysed rotavirus-infected target cells; cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) were responsible for rotavirus-specific cytotoxic activity. Rotavirus-specific cytotoxic activity by IELs was (i) eliminated by treatment with Thy 1.2-specific immunoglobulin M plus complement, (ii) restricted by proteins encoded at the major histocompatibility complex, and (iii) absent in mock-infected animals. Oral inoculation of mice with RRV also induced rotavirus-specific CTLs in splenic and intestinal lymphocytes (mesenteric lymph nodes, Peyer's patch). Parenteral inoculation induced rotavirus-specific CTLs in splenic, intestinal (IELs, mesenteric lymph nodes, Peyer's patch), and nonintestinal lymphocytes (inguinal nodes). Therefore, presentation of rotavirus to the intestinal mucosal surface was not necessary to induce IELs with virus-specific cytotoxic activity. At 4 weeks after oral or parenteral inoculation of mice with RRV, rotavirus-specific CTL precursors appeared among splenic, Peyer's patch, inguinal, and mesenteric node lymphocytes, but not among IELs. IELs with rotavirus-specific cytotoxic activity may be generated from precursors at a site other than the intestinal mucosal surface. Part of the response of the host to enteric infection may include surveillance and lysis of virus-infected villus epithelial cells by IELs.
Pubmed ID: 2545920 RIS Download
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