In vivo differentiated cytokine-producing CD4+ T cells express functional CCR7


  • G.F. Debes
  • U.E. Hoepken
  • A. Hamann


  • Journal of Immunology


  • J Immunol 168 (11): 5441-5447


  • Chemokines and their receptors fulfill specialized roles in inflammation and under homeostatic conditions. CCR7 and its ligands, CCL19 and CCL21, are involved in lymphocyte recirculation through secondary lymphoid organs and additionally navigate lymphocytes into distinct tissue compartments. The role of CCR7 in the migration of polarized T effector/memory cell subsets in vivo is still poorly understood. We therefore analyzed murine and human CD4+ cytokine-producing cells developed in vivo for their chemotactic reactivity to CCR7 ligands. The responses of cells producing cytokines, such as IFN-{gamma}, IL-4, and IL-10, as well as of subsets defined by memory or activation markers were comparable to that of naive CD4+ cells, with slightly lower reactivity in cells expressing IL-10 or CD69. This indicates that CCR7 ligands are able to attract naive as well as the vast majority of activated and effector/memory T cell stages. Chemotactic reactivity of these cells toward CCL21 was absent in CCR7-deficient cells, proving that effector cells do not use alternative receptors for this chemokine. Th1 cells generated from CCR7−/− mice failed to enter lymph nodes and Peyer’s patches, but did enter a site of inflammation. These findings indicate that CD4+ cells producing effector cytokines upon stimulation retain the capacity to recirculate through lymphoid tissues via CCR7.