Selective migration of highly differentiated primed T cells, defined by low expression of CD45RB, across human umbilical vein endothelial cells: effects of viral infection on transmigration


Dr N. J. Borthwick Department of Clinical Immunology, RFHSM, Rowland Hill Street, London NW3 2PF, UK


Low expression of CD45RB on CD45RO+ T lymphocytes defines a subset of highly differentiated T lymphocytes that accumulate in vivo within the affected joints of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Although it is known that CD45RO+ T lymphocytes migrate to sites of inflammation in vivo, it is not clear whether within this subset the CD45RBlo cells are selectively recruited or develop in situ within the joint. Using a transwell system we show that a small proportion of resting T lymphocytes migrated across unactivated human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC). These migrating cells were CD45RO+ and enriched for low CD45RB expression. In addition, both the CD45RO+CD45RBlo subset and migrating cells expressed increased levels of β1 and β2 integrins and CD44. The percentage of CD45RO+CD45RBlo T lymphocytes was increased in the circulation of patients with acute Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) infection. These in vivo activated cells also expressed increased levels β1 and β2 integrins and CD44, and showed an enhanced rate of transmigration compared with resting T lymphocytes. Transmigration of T lymphocytes was increased using the chemokines RANTES and lymphotactin and the cytokine interleukin-15 (IL-15). In addition, infection of the HUVEC with cytomegalovirus (CMV) led to an enhanced movement of T lymphocytes. In all of these cases the selective migration of the CD45RBlo subset was maintained. Thus although the rate of T-lymphocyte transmigration could be influenced by a number factors, the CD45RO+CD45RBlo subset has a migratory advantage suggesting that more differentiated CD45RO+CD45RBlo T lymphocytes are selectively recruited to sites of inflammation.