Reciprocal interactions between commensal bacteria and γδ intraepithelial lymphocytes during mucosal injury

Anisa S. Ismail, Cassie L. Behrendt, Lora V. Hooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

162 Scopus citations


The intestinal mucosal surface is in direct contact with a vast beneficial microbiota. The symbiotic nature of this relationship is threatened when the surface epithelium is injured, yet little is known about how mucosal surfaces maintain homeostasis with commensal microbes following damage. γδ Intraepithelial lymphocytes (γδ IEL) reside at the gut epithelial surface, where they stimulate mucosal healing following acute injury. A genome-wide analysis of the γδ IEL response to dextran sulfate sodium-induced colonic damage revealed induction of a complex transcriptional program, including coordinate regulation of cytoprotective, immunomodulatory, and antibacterial factors. Studies in germfree mice demonstrated that commensal microbiota regulate key components of this transcriptional program, thus revealing a dialogue between commensal bacteria and γδ IEL in injured epithelia. Analysis of TCRδ-deficient mice indicated that γδ T cells are essential for controlling mucosal penetration of commensal bacteria immediately following dextran sulfate sodium-induced damage, suggesting that a key function of γδ IEL is to maintain host-microbial homeostasis following acute mucosal injury. Taken together, these findings disclose a reciprocal relationship between γδ T cells and intestinal microbiota that promotes beneficial host-microbial relationships in the intestine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3047-3054
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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