T cell immunity in the teleost digestive tract

Carolina Tafalla, Esther Leal, Takuya Yamaguchi, Uwe Fischer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Fish (along with cyclostomes) constitute the most ancient animal group in which an acquired immune system is present. As in higher vertebrates, both B and T lymphocytes cooperate in implementing an adequate response. Although there is still a debate on whether fish possess a true gut associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), the presence of diffuse B and T lymphocytes throughout all mucosal surfaces has been demonstrated in a wide variety of fish species. The lack of antibodies against T lymphocyte markers has hampered the performance of functional assays in both systemic and mucosal compartments. However, most components associated with T lymphocyte function have been identified in fish through extensive genomic research, suggesting similar functionalities for fish and mammalian T lymphocytes. Thus, the aim of this review is to briefly summarize what is known in teleost concerning the characteristics and functionalities of the different T cell subsets, to then focus on what is known to date regarding their presence and role in the gastrointestinal tract, through either direct functional assays or indirectly by conclusions drawn from transcriptomic analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-177
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental and Comparative Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Fish
  • Gut
  • Mucosal tissues
  • T lymphocytes


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