BACKGROUND: At border sites, and in internal organs, tissue resident memory T cells (TRM) contribute to the immune barrier against pathogens like viruses, bacteria, fungi, and cancer. However, information on the presence and function of these cells in the human kidney is scant. In order to better understand the T cell-mediated immunological defense in this organ, we aimed to determine phenotypic and functional aspects of CD8 and CD4 T cells present in healthy and allograft kidney tissue. METHODS: Using multichannel flow cytometry, we assessed the phenotype and function of T cells in healthy renal tissue samples (n = 5) and kidney allograft tissue (n = 7) and compared these aspects to T cells in peripheral blood from healthy controls (n = 13). RESULTS: Kidney tissue samples contained substantial amounts of CD8 and CD4 T cells. In contrast to the circulating cells, kidney T cells frequently expressed CD69 and CD103, and were more often actively cycling. Furthermore, nearly all kidney T cells expressed CXCR3, and often expressed CXCR6 compared to T cells in the circulation. Markedly, kidney T cells produced greater quantities of IFNγ than circulating cells and were frequently polyfunctional. CONCLUSION: Functional T cells with the characteristic traits of TRM reside in human kidney tissues. These cells are more often actively cycling and frequently express CXCR3 and CXCR6.
Original languageEnglish
Article number288
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021


  • Allograft
  • CD103
  • CD4
  • CD69
  • CD8
  • Kidney
  • T-cells
  • Tissue-resident lymphocytes

Cite this