Biliary epithelium and liver B cells exposed to bacteria activate intrahepatic MAIT cells through MR1.
Jeffery HC., van Wilgenburg B., Kurioka A., Parekh K., Stirling K., Roberts S., Dutton EE., Hunter S., Geh D., Braitch MK., Rajanayagam J., Iqbal T., Pinkney T., Brown R., Withers DR., Adams DH., Klenerman P., Oo YH.
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Mucosal-Associated Invariant T (MAIT) cells are innate-like T cells characterised by the invariant TCR-chain, Vα7.2-Jα33, and are restricted by MR1, which presents bacterial vitamin B metabolites. They are important for antibacterial immunity at mucosal sites; however, detailed characteristics of liver-infiltrating MAIT (LI-MAIT) and their role in biliary immune surveillance remain unexplored. METHODS: The phenotype and intrahepatic localisation of human LI-MAIT cells was examined in diseased and normal livers. MAIT cell activation in response to E. coli-exposed macrophages, biliary epithelial cells (BEC) and liver B cells was assessed with/without anti-MR1. RESULTS: Intrahepatic MAIT cells predominantly localised to bile ducts in the portal tracts. Consistent with this distribution, they expressed biliary tropic chemokine receptors CCR6, CXCR6, and integrin αEβ7. LI-MAIT cells were also present in the hepatic sinusoids and possessed tissue-homing chemokine receptor CXCR3 and integrins LFA-1 and VLA-4, suggesting their recruitment via hepatic sinusoids. LI-MAIT cells were enriched in the parenchyma of acute liver failure livers compared to chronic diseased livers. LI-MAIT cells had an activated, effector memory phenotype, expressed α4β7 and receptors for IL-12, IL-18, and IL-23. Importantly, in response to E. coli-exposed macrophages, liver B cells and BEC, MAIT cells upregulated IFN-γ and CD40 Ligand and degranulated in an MR1-dependent, cytokine-independent manner. In addition, diseased liver MAIT cells expressed T-bet and RORγt and the cytokines IFN-γ, TNF-α, and IL-17. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings provide the first evidence of an immune surveillance effector response for MAIT cells towards BEC in human liver; thus they could be manipulated for treatment of biliary disease in the future.