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Recently, a key role in memory T cell homing and survival has been attributed to the bone marrow (BM) in mice. In the human BM, the repertoire, function, and survival niches of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells have not yet been elucidated. In this study, we demonstrate that CD4(+) and CD8(+) effector memory T cells accumulate in the human BM and are in a heightened activation state as revealed by CD69 expression. BM-resident memory T cells produce more IFN- and are frequently polyfunctional. Immunofluorescence analysis revealed that CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells are in the immediate vicinity of IL-15-producing BM cells, suggesting a close interaction between these two cell types and a regulatory role of IL-15 on T cells. Accordingly, IL-15 induced an identical pattern of CD69 expression in peripheral blood CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell subsets. Moreover, the IL-15-inducible molecules Bcl-x(L), MIP-1, MIP-1, and CCR5 were upregulated in the human BM. In summary, our results indicate that the human BM microenvironment, in particular IL-15-producing cells, is important for the maintenance of a polyfunctional memory CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell pool.
author list (cited authors)
Herndler-Brandstetter, D., Landgraf, K., Jenewein, B., Tzankov, A., Brunauer, R., Brunner, S., ... Grubeck-Loebenstein, B.