Circulating mucosal-associated invariant T cells in subjects with recurrent urinary tract infections are functionally impaired

Matty L. Terpstra, Ester B. M. Remmerswaal, Michiel C. van Aalderen, Joyce J. Wever, Marjan J. Sinnige, Nelly D. van der Bom-Baylon, Frederike J. Bemelman, Suzanne E. Geerlings

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Background: Urinary tract infection recurrence is common, particularly in women and immunocompromised patients, such as renal transplant recipients (RTRs). Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells play a role in the antibacterial response by recognizing bacterial riboflavin metabolites produced by bacteria such as Escherichia coli. Here, we investigated whether MAIT cells are involved in the pathogenesis of recurrent urinary tract infections (RUTIs). Methods: Using multichannel flow cytometry, we characterized the MAIT cell phenotype and function in blood from immunocompetent adults with (n = 13) and without RUTIs (n = 10) and in RTRs with (n = 9) and without RUTIs (n = 10). Results: There were no differences in the numbers of MAIT cells between the study groups. MAIT cells in patients with RUTI expressed T-bet more often than those in controls. MAIT cells from immunocompetent RUTI participants required more antigen-presenting cells coincubated with E. coli to evoke a similar cytokine and degranulation response than those from controls. This effect was absent in the RTR with RUTI vs RTR control groups, where the overall percentage of MAIT cells that responded to stimulation was already reduced. Conclusion: Circulating MAIT cells in immunocompetent individuals with RUTIs respond to bacterial stimuli with reduced efficacy, which suggests that they are involved in the pathogenesis of RUTIs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-92
Number of pages13
JournalImmunity Inflammation and Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • MAIT cells
  • recurrent urinary tract infection
  • renal transplantation

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