Phenotypic and functional complexity of brain-infiltrating T cells in Rasmussen encephalitis

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid



To characterize the brain-infiltrating immune cell repertoire in Rasmussen encephalitis (RE) with special focus on the subsets, clonality, and their cytokine profile.


The immune cell infiltrate of freshly isolated brain tissue from RE was phenotypically and functionally characterized using immunohistology, flow cytometry, and T-cell receptor (TCR) deep sequencing. Identification of clonally expanded T-cell clones (TCCs) was achieved by combining flow cytometry sorting of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells and high-throughput TCR Vβ-chain sequencing. The most abundant brain-infiltrating TCCs were isolated and functionally characterized.


We found that CD4+, CD8+, and also γδ T cells infiltrate the brain tissue in RE. Further analysis surprisingly revealed that not only brain-infiltrating CD8+ but also CD4+ T cells are clonally expanded in RE. All 3 subsets exhibited a Tc1/Th1 phenotype characterized by the production of interferon (IFN)-γ and TNF. Broad cytokine profiling at the clonal level showed strong production of IFN-γ and TNF and also secretion of interleukin (IL)-5, IL-13, and granzyme B, both in CD4+ and CD8+ T cells.


CD8+ T cells were until now considered the central players in the immunopathogenesis of RE. Our study adds to previous findings and highlights that CD4+ TCCs and γδ T cells that secrete IFN-γ and TNF are also involved. These findings underline the complexity of T-cell immunity in RE and suggest a specific role for CD4+ T cells in orchestrating the CD8+ T-cell effector immune response.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles