Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a fatal disease without any cure. Both human disease and animal models demonstrate dysregulated wound healing and unregulated fibrogenesis in a background of low-grade chronic T lymphocyte infiltration. Tissue-resident memory T cells (Trm) are emerging as important regulators of the immune microenvironment in response to pathogens, and we hypothesized that they might play a role in regulating the unremitting inflammation that promotes lung fibrosis. Herein, we demonstrate that lung-directed immunotherapy, in the form of i.n. vaccination, induces an antifibrotic T cell response capable of arresting and reversing lung fibrosis. In mice with established lung fibrosis, lung-specific T cell responses were able to reverse established pathology — as measured by decreased lung collagen, fibrocytes, and histologic injury — and improve physiologic function. Mechanistically, we demonstrate that this effect is mediated by vaccine-induced lung Trm. These data not only have implications for the development of immunotherapeutic regimens to treat IPF, but also suggest a role for targeting tissue-resident memory T cells to treat other tissue-specific inflammatory/autoimmune disorders.
Samuel L. Collins, Yee Chan-Li, MinHee Oh, Christine L. Vigeland, Nathachit Limjunyawong, Wayne Mitzner, Jonathan D. Powell, Maureen R. Horton
Ryan J. Adam, Katherine B. Hisert, Jonathan D. Dodd, Brenda Grogan, Janice L. Launspach, Janel K. Barnes, Charles G. Gallagher, Jered P. Sieren, Thomas J. Gross, Anthony J. Fischer, Joseph E. Cavanaugh, Eric A. Hoffman, Pradeep K. Singh, Michael J. Welsh, Edward F. McKone, David A. Stoltz
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