Multiple types of immune cells are interspersed among the epithelial cells lining the intestines and are considered to be a first line of defense against pathogens. The survival and interaction of these intraepithelial lymphocytes and their roles in intestinal inflammation are not well understood.
Ali Nazmi, Ph.D., Danyvid Olivares-Villagómez, Ph.D., and colleagues have examined the effect of one type of intraepithelial lymphocyte (iCD8alpha) on another (ILC1-like). Using mice with reduced numbers of iCD8alpha cells, they found that these cells play a critical role in the survival of ILC1-like cells, and that this effect is partly mediated by the factor osteopontin.
In a mouse model of intestinal inflammation that involves ILC1-like cells, reduced iCD8alpha cell numbers resulted in milder inflammation and treatment with osteopontin increased disease severity.
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