Transcriptomic Profiling Identifies CD8+ T Cells in the Brain of Aged and Alzheimer's Disease Transgenic Mice as Tissue-Resident Memory T Cells

Barbara Altendorfer, Michael Stefan Unger, Rodolphe Poupardin, Anna Hoog, Daniela Asslaber, Iris Karina Gratz, Heike Mrowetz, Ariane Benedetti, Diana Marisa Bessa de Sousa, Richard Greil, Alexander Egle, David Gate, Tony Wyss-Coray, Ludwig Aigner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Peripheral immune cell infiltration into the brain is a prominent feature in aging and various neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). As AD progresses, CD8+ T cells infiltrate into the brain parenchyma, where they tightly associate with neurons and microglia. The functional properties of CD8+ T cells in the brain are largely unknown. To gain further insights into the putative functions of CD8+ T cells in the brain, we explored and compared the transcriptomic profile of CD8+ T cells isolated from the brain and blood of transgenic AD (APPswe/PSEN1dE9, line 85 [APP-PS1]) and age-matched wild-type (WT) mice. Brain CD8+ T cells of APP-PS1 and WT animals had similar transcriptomic profiles and substantially differed from blood circulating CD8+ T cells. The gene signature of brain CD8+ T cells identified them as tissue-resident memory (Trm) T cells. Gene Ontology enrichment and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway analysis on the significantly upregulated genes revealed overrepresentation of biological processes involved in IFN-b signaling and the response to viral infections. Furthermore, brain CD8+ T cells of APP-PS1 and aged WT mice showed similar differentially regulated genes as brain Trm CD8+ T cells in mouse models with acute virus infection, chronic parasite infection, and tumor growth. In conclusion, our profiling of brain CD8+ T cells suggests that in AD, these cells exhibit similar adaptive immune responses as in other inflammatory diseases of the CNS, potentially opening the door for immunotherapy in AD. The Journal of Immunology, 2022, 209: 1-14.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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