Background: Previous work from our laboratory has demonstrated that during acute viral brain infection, glial cells modulate antiviral T cell effector responses through the PD-1: PD-L1 pathway, thereby limiting the deleterious consequences of unrestrained neuroinflammation. Here, we evaluated the PD-1: PD-L1 pathway in development of brain-resident memory T cells (bTRM) following murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) infection. Methods: Flow cytometric analysis of immune cells was performed at 7, 14, and 30 days post-infection (dpi) to assess the shift of brain-infiltrating CD8+ T cell populations from short-lived effector cells (SLEC) to memory precursor effector cells (MPEC), as well as generation of bTRMs. Results: In wild-type (WT) animals, we observed a switch in the phenotype of brain-infiltrating CD8+ T cell populations from KLRG1+ CD127- (SLEC) to KLRG1- CD127+ (MPEC) during transition from acute through chronic phases of infection. At 14 and 30 dpi, the majority of CD8+ T cells expressed CD127, a marker of memory cells. In contrast, fewer CD8+ T cells expressed CD127 within brains of infected, PD-L1 knockout (KO) animals. Notably, in WT mice, a large population of CD8+ T cells was phenotyped as CD103+ CD69+, markers of bTRM, and differences were observed in the numbers of these cells when compared to PD-L1 KOs. Immunohistochemical studies revealed that brain-resident CD103+ bTRM cells were localized to the parenchyma. Higher frequencies of CXCR3 were also observed among WT animals in contrast to PD-L1 KOs. Conclusions: Taken together, our results indicate that bTRMs are present within the CNS following viral infection and the PD-1: PD-L1 pathway plays a role in the generation of this brain-resident population.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by awards MH-066703 from the National Institute of Mental Health and NS-038836 from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
© 2017 The Author(s).