P083 Characterisation of T-cell receptor repertoire patterns of circulating a4b7 positive memory T cells in ulcerative colitis

A. Gamliel, L. Werner, N. Salamon, M. Pinsker, B. Weiss, D. Shouval

Tel-HaShomer Sheba Medical Center Edmond and Lily Safra Childrens Hospital, Paediatric Gastroenterology Unit, Ramat-Gan, Israel


Memory T cells play an important role in mediating inflammatory responses in IBD. The integrin a4b7 is highly expressed on activated T cells, and is thought to direct homing of lymphocytes to the intestine, following its binding to MADCAM-1 expressed exclusively on intestinal endothelial cells. Since UC is characterised by oligoclonal expansion of specific T-cell clonotypes, we hypothesised that circulating memory T cells with gut-homing potential would exhibit unique T-cell receptor repertoire features.


Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were collected from 5 control subjects and 6 pediatric patients with active UC. Following CD3 MACS sorting cells were FACS sorted into a4b7 positive and a4b7 negative CD3+CD45RO+ memory T cells. DNA was Isolated from each subset and subjected to next-generation sequencing of the TCRB. This high-throughput platform employs massive parallel sequencing to process millions of rearranged T-cell receptor (TCR) products simultaneously, and permits an in-depth analysis of individual TCRs at the nucleotide level. Comparisons of different indices of diversity, CDR3 length and clonal biochemical characteristics were performed between a4b7 positive and a4b7 negative populations for each subject, and between controls and UC patients.


PBMCs were isolated from active UC patients during endoscopic assessment. Four patients had a Mayo endoscopic score of 2, and two patients had a score of 1. Only one patient was treated with an immunosuppressive medication (azathioprine), and five out of six patients were treated with 5ASAs. Percentages of memory T cells (43.8 ± 12.3% vs. 32.2 ± 13.1%, p = 0.17) and a4b7 positive T cells (33.6 ± 15.7% vs. 36.0 ± 17.6%, p = 0.81) were comparable between controls and UC patients. Interestingly, a4b7 positive memory T cells displayed a polyclonal distribution, in both control subjects and in UC patients, without expansion of specific clones. Different indices of diversity, including shanon’s H, clonality index and entropy, were similar among controls and patients, both for a4b7 positive and a4b7 negative populations. Finally, clonal overlap between a4b7 positive and a4b7 negative memory T cells, for each subject was high, ranging between 30–50% for controls and 27–48% for UC patients.


a4b7 expressing memory T cells exhibited a polyclonal repertoire in both control subjects and patients with active UC, with high rates of overlap with a4b7 negative memory T cells. Our study, along with additional recent reports, challenge the dogma of the importance of a4b7 expression for T-cell migration to the gut, and may suggest that vedolizumab’s suppresses intestinal inflammation by blocking the trafficking of innate immune subsets.