Redox equilibrium in mucosal T cells tunes the intestinal TCR signaling threshold

Brenda M Rivera Reyes, Silvio Danese, Miquel Sans, Claudio Fiocchi, Alan D. Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mucosal immune tolerance in the healthy intestine is typified by lamina propria T cell (LPT) functional hyporesponsiveness after TCR engagement when compared with peripheral blood T cell (PBT). When LPT from an inflamed intestine are activated through TCR cross-linking, their responsiveness is stronger. LPT are thus capable of switching from a tolerant to a reactive state, toggling between high and low thresholds of activation. We demonstrate that in normal LPT global tyrosine phosphorylation upon TCR cross-linking or an increase in intracellular H2O2, an inhibitor of protein tyrosine phosphatases, is muted. Thus, we propose that LPT have a greater reducing capacity than PBT, shifting the balance between kinases and protein tyrosine phosphatases in favor of the latter. Surface γ-glutamyl transpeptidase, an indirect indicator of redox potential, and glutathione are significantly elevated in LPT compared with PBT, suggesting that elevated glutathione detoxifies TCR-induced reactive oxygen species. When glutathione is depleted, TCR-induced LPT tyrosine phosphorylation rises to PBT levels. Conversely, increasing glutathione in PBT attenuates tyrosine phosphorylation. In LPT isolated from inflamed mucosa, TCR cross-linking induces greater phosphorylation, and γ-glutamyl transpeptidase levels are reduced compared with those from autologous noninflamed tissue. We conclude that the high TCR signaling threshold of mucosal T cells is tuned by intracellular redox equilibrium, whose dysregulation may mediate intestinal inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2158-2166
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 15 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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