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The location of intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs) between epithelial cells provide a first line of immune defense against enteric infection. It is assumed that IELs migrate only along the basement membrane or into the lateral intercellular space (LIS) between epithelial cells. Here, we identify a unique transepithelial migration of porcine IELs as they move to the free surface of the intestinal epithelia. The major causative agent of neonatal diarrhea in piglets, porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), increases the number of IELs entering the LIS and free surface of the intestinal epithelia, driven by chemokine CCL2 secreted from virus-infected intestinal epithelial cells. Remarkably, only virus pre-activated IELs inhibits PEDV infection and their antiviral activity depends on the further activation by virus-infected cells. Although high levels of perforin is detected in the co-culture system, the antiviral function of activated IELs is mainly mediated by IFN-γ secretion inducing robust antiviral response in virus-infected cells. Our results uncover a unique migratory behavior of porcine IELs as well as their protective role in the defense against intestinal infection. © 2022. The Author(s).


Yuchen Li, Yichao Ma, Yuxin Jin, Xuebin Peng, Xiuyu Wang, Penghao Zhang, Peng Liu, Chun Liang, Qian Yang. Porcine intraepithelial lymphocytes undergo migration and produce an antiviral response following intestinal virus infection. Communications biology. 2022 Mar 22;5(1):252

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PMID: 35318455

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