BACKGROUND: Elicitation of allergic contact dermatitis (ACD), an inflammatory type 4 hypersensitivity disease, induces skin infiltration by polyclonal effector CD8 αβ T cells and precursors of tissue-resident memory T (TRM) cells. Because TRM have long-term potential to contribute to body-surface immunoprotection and immunopathology, their local regulation needs a fuller understanding.
OBJECTIVE: We sought to investigate how TRM-cell maturation might be influenced by innate-like T cells pre-existing within many epithelia.
METHODS: This study examined CD8+ TRM-cell maturation following hapten-induced ACD in wild-type mice and in strains harboring altered compartments of dendritic intraepidermal γδ T cells (DETCs), a prototypic tissue-intrinsic, innate-like T-cell compartment that reportedly regulates ACD, but by no elucidated mechanism.
RESULTS: In addition to eliciting CD8 TRM, ACD induced DETC activation and an intimate coregulatory association of the 2 cell types. This depended on DETC sensing IFN-γ produced by CD8 cells and involved programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1). Thus, in mice lacking DETC or lacking IFN-γ receptor solely on γδ cells, ACD-elicited CD8 T cells showed enhanced proliferative and effector potentials and reduced motility, collectively associated with exaggerated ACD pathology. Comparable dysregulation was elicited by PD-L1 blockade in vitro, and IFN-γ-regulated PD-L1 expression was a trait of human skin-homing and intraepithelial γδ T cells.
CONCLUSIONS: The size and quality of the tissue-infiltrating CD8 T-cell response during ACD can be profoundly regulated by local innate-like T cells responding to IFN-γ and involving PD-L1. Thus, interindividual and tissue-specific variations in tissue-intrinsic lymphocytes may influence responses to allergens and other challenges and may underpin inflammatory pathologies such as those repeatedly observed in γδ T-cell-deficient settings.