Conserved γδ T cell selection by BTNL proteins limits progression of human inflammatory bowel disease

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Murine intraepithelial γδ T cells include distinct tissue-protective cells selected by epithelial butyrophilin-like (BTNL) heteromers. To determine whether this biology is conserved in humans, we characterized the colonic γδ T cell compartment, identifying a diverse repertoire that includes a phenotypically distinct subset coexpressing T cell receptor Vγ4 and the epithelium-binding integrin CD103. This subset was disproportionately diminished and dysregulated in inflammatory bowel disease, whereas on-treatment CD103+γδ T cell restoration was associated with sustained inflammatory bowel disease remission. Moreover, CD103+Vγ4+cell dysregulation and loss were also displayed by humans with germline BTNL3/BTNL8 hypomorphism, which we identified as a risk factor for penetrating Crohn's disease (CD). Thus, BTNL-dependent selection and/or maintenance of distinct tissue-intrinsic γδ T cells appears to be an evolutionarily conserved axis limiting the progression of a complex, multifactorial, tissue-damaging disease of increasing global incidence.

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Journal Science
Volume 381
Issue number 6663
Pages eadh0301
Available online
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