Differential effects of α4β7 and GPR15 on homing of effector and regulatory T cells from patients with UC to the inflamed gut in vivo

Anika Fischer, Sebastian Zundler, Raja Atreya, Timo Rath, Caroline Voskens, Simon Hirschmann, Rocío López-Posadas, Alastair Watson, Christoph Becker, Gerold Schuler, Clemens Neufert, Imke Atreya, Markus F. Neurath

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Objective: Gut homing of lymphocytes via adhesion molecules has recently emerged as new target for therapy in inflammatory bowel diseases. We aimed to analyze the in vivo homing of effector (Teff) and regulatory (Treg) T cells to the inflamed gut via α4β7 and GPR15.
Design: We assessed the expression of homing receptors on T cells in peripheral blood and inflamed mucosa. We studied the migration pattern and homing of Teff and Treg cells to the inflamed gut using intravital confocal microscopy and FACS in a humanized mouse model in DSS-treated NSG (NOD.Cg-Prkdcscid-Il2rgtm1Wjl/SzJ) mice.
Results: Expression of GPR15 and α4β7 was significantly increased on Treg rather than Teff cells in peripheral blood of patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) as compared to Crohn´s disease and controls. In vivo analysis in a humanized mouse model showed augmented gut homing of UC Treg cells as compared to controls. Moreover, suppression of UC (but not control) Teff and Treg cell homing was noted upon treatment with the α4β7 antibody vedolizumab. In contrast, siRNA blockade of GPR15 had only effects on homing of Teff cells but did not affect Treg homing in UC. Clinical vedolizumab treatment was associated with marked expansion of UC Treg cells in peripheral blood.
Conclusion: α4β7 rather than GPR15 is crucial for increased colonic homing of UC Treg cells in vivo, while both receptors control UC Teff homing. Vedolizumab treatment impairs homing of UC Treg cells leading to their accumulation in peripheral blood with subsequent suppression of systemic effector T cell expansion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1642-1664
Number of pages23
Issue number10
Early online date24 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016


  • T cells
  • vedolizumab
  • Ulcerative colitis

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