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Brain-resident memory T cells generated early in life predispose to autoimmune disease in mice.

Sci Transl Med. 2019 Jun 26;11(498). pii: eaav5519. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aav5519.

Authors/Editors: Steinbach K, Vincenti I, Egervari K, Kreutzfeldt M, van der Meer F, Page N, Klimek B, Rossitto-Borlat I, Di Liberto G, Muschaweckh A, Wagner I, Hammad K, Stadelmann C, Korn T, Hartley O, Pinschewer DD, Merkler D.
Publication Date: 2019

Abstract

Epidemiological studies associate viral infections during childhood with the risk of developing autoimmune disease during adulthood. However, the mechanistic link between these events remains elusive. We report that transient viral infection of the brain in early life, but not at a later age, precipitates brain autoimmune disease elicited by adoptive transfer of myelin-specific CD4+ T cells at sites of previous infection in adult mice. Early-life infection of mouse brains imprinted a chronic inflammatory signature that consisted of brain-resident memory T cells expressing the chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 5 (CCL5). Blockade of CCL5 signaling via C-C chemokine receptor type 5 prevented the formation of brain lesions in a mouse model of autoimmune disease. In mouse and human brain, CCL5+ TRM were located predominantly to sites of microglial activation. This study uncovers how transient brain viral infections in a critical window in life might leave persisting chemotactic cues and create a long-lived permissive environment for autoimmunity.

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