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The Proximal Airway Is a Reservoir for Adaptive Immunologic Memory in Idiopathic Subglottic Stenosis

Gelbard, A., Wanjalla, C., Wootten, C.T.

Objectives/hypothesis: Characterization of the localized adaptive immune response in the airway scar of patients with idiopathic subglottic stenosis (iSGS).

Study design: Basic Science.

Methods: Utilizing 36 patients with subglottic stenosis (25 idiopathic subglottic stenosis [iSGS], 10 iatrogenic post-intubation stenosis [iLTS], and one granulomatosis with polyangiitis [GPA]) we applied immunohistochemical and immunologic techniques coupled with RNA sequencing.

Results: iSGS, iLTS, and GPA demonstrate a significant immune infiltrate in the subglottic scar consisting of adaptive cell subsets (T cells along with dendritic cells). Interrogation of T cell subtypes showed significantly more CD69+ CD103+ CD8+ tissue resident memory T cells (TRM ) in the iSGS airway scar than iLTS specimens (iSGS vs. iLTS; 50% vs. 28%, P = .0065). Additionally, subglottic CD8+ clones possessed T-cell receptor (TCR) sequences with known antigen specificity for viral and intracellular pathogens.

Conclusions: The human subglottis is significantly enriched for CD8+ tissue resident memory T cells in iSGS, which possess TCR sequences proven to recognize viral and intracellular pathogens. These results inform our understanding of iSGS, provide a direction for future discovery, and demonstrate immunologic function in the human proximal airway. Laryngoscope, 2020.

Keywords: T cell receptor; TCR sequencing; clonotype; iSGS; resident memory; subglottis.

Citation

Gelbard, A., Wanjalla, C., Wootten, C.T. "The Proximal Airway Is a Reservoir for Adaptive Immunologic Memory in Idiopathic Subglottic Stenosis" The Laryngoscope (2020): DOI: 10.1002/lary.28840