Clin Transl Immunology. 2016 Dec .

The role of liver sinusoidal cells in local hepatic immune surveillance.

Wohlleber D, Knolle PA

Although the liver's function as unique immune organ regulating immunity has received a lot of attention over the last years, the mechanisms determining hepatic immune surveillance against infected hepatocytes remain less well defined. Liver sinusoidal cells, in particular, liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSECs) and Kupffer cells (KCs), serve as physical platform for recruitment and anchoring of blood-borne immune cells in the liver. Liver sinusoidal cells also function as portal of entry for infectious microorganisms targeting the liver such as hepatotropic viruses, bacteria or parasites. At the same time, liver sinusoidal cells actively contribute to achieve immune surveillance against bacterial and viral infections. KCs function as adhesion hubs for CD8 T cells from the circulation, which initiates the interaction of virus-specific CD8 T cells with infected hepatocytes. Through their phagocytic function, KCs contribute to removal of bacteria from the circulation and engage in cross talk with sinusoidal lymphocyte populations to achieve elimination of phagocytosed bacteria. LSECs contribute to local immune surveillance through cross-presentation of viral antigens that causes antigen-specific retention of CD8 T cells from the circulation. Such cross-presentation of viral antigens activates CD8 T cells to release TNF that in turn triggers selective killing of virus-infected hepatocytes. Beyond major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-restricted T-cell immunity, CD1- and MR1-restricted innate-like lymphocytes are found in liver sinusoids whose roles in local immune surveillance against infection need to be defined. Thus, liver sinusoidal cell populations bear key functions for hepatic recruitment and for local activation of immune cells, which are both required for efficient immune surveillance against infection in the liver.

PMID: 28090319