• CD8+ T cell responses;
  • chemokines;
  • CXCL9;
  • CXCR3;
  • mucosal immunity;
  • SIV

Citation Cromwell MA, Carville A, Mansfield K, Klumpp S, Westmoreland SV, Lackner AA, Johnson RP. SIV-specific CD8+ T cells are enriched in female genital mucosa of rhesus macaques and express receptors for inflammatory chemokines. Am J Reprod Immunol 2011; 65: 242–247

Problem Mucosal T lymphocyte responses in the female reproductive tract, the primary site of HIV transmission in women, may be critical for initial control of virus infection. In addition, characterization of genital immune responses to HIV will be important for the development of a vaccine capable of preventing infection by this route.

Method of study  We analyzed lymphocytes isolated from vagina and cervix of chronically SIV-infected macaques for the frequency of SIV Gag tetramer-binding cells and expression of chemokine receptors.

Results  We found that the frequency of SIV-specific CD8+ T cell responses was 3- to 30-fold higher in genital tissues than in peripheral blood. SIV-specific CD8+ T cells in genital tissues expressed high levels of CXCR3 and CCR5, chemokine receptors normally expressed on memory T cells that home to inflamed tissues. Cells expressing CXCR3 colocalized with its chemokine ligand CXCL9 [monokine induced by interferon gamma, MIG] in the vaginal lamina propria.

Conclusion  These results indicate that the frequency of SIV-specific CD8+ T cells in the female genital mucosa is enriched compared with peripheral blood and provide initial information regarding the signals that direct recruitment of T cells to the female reproductive tract.