Human airway epithelial monolayers promote selective transmigration of memory T cells: A transepithelial model of lymphocyte migration into the airways

Lisa Miller, Eugene C. Butcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations


It has previously been demonstrated that T lymphocytes in the conducting airways express a pattern of adhesion molecules that are uniquely different from T lymphocytes found circulating in peripheral blood. To examine the role of airway epithelia in the determination of migratory capacity for human monocyte and lymphocyte populations in vivo, we have developed an in vitro transepithelial migration model using the human transformed bronchial epithelial cell line BEAS-2B S.6. In this study, we have demonstrated the preferential migration of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) across BEAS-2B S.6 cell monolayers in a physiologically appropriate direction (basal to apical epithelial cell surface). Stimulation of BEAS-2B S.6 cells with a combination of interferon-γ and tumor necrosis factor-α upregulated basal-to-apical transepithelial migration by at least twofold. Monocytes migrated most efficiently, but subpopulations of CD19+ B cells and CD2+ cells were also recruited across epithelial cell monolayers. In the T lymphocyte subset of PBMC, CD45RO+ "memory" cells migrated preferentially. In addition, CD4+ cells exhibited a significantly greater capacity to migrate across airway epithelium compared with CD8+ cells. Migrated CD4+ cells were predominantly CD29high/CD26high, and within this subset uniformly ex-pressed CD62L (L-selectin) at an intermediate level. PBMC migration across BEAS-2B S.6 cells was significantly inhibited by pertussis toxin; this result implicates a G protein signaling event as an important mediator of lymphocyte/monocyte transepithelial migration. On the basis of these data, we conclude that bronchial epithelium provides a unique microenvironment that supports the selective, G protein-dependent migration of memory T cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)892-900
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1998


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

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