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Sci Transl Med DOI:10.1126/scitranslmed.abo0686

Granzyme K CD8 T cells form a core population in inflamed human tissue.

Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsA Jonsson, H, Zhang, F, Dunlap, G, Gomez-Rivas, E, Watts, GFM, Faust, HJ, Rupani, KVijay, Mears, JR, Meednu, N, Wang, R, Keras, G, Coblyn, JS, Massarotti, EM, Todd, DJ, Anolik, JH, McDavid, A, Wei, K, Rao, DA, Raychaudhuri, S, Brenner, MB
Corporate AuthorsAccelerating Medicines Partnership RA/SLE Network
JournalSci Transl Med
Date Published2022 Jun 15

T cell-derived pro-inflammatory cytokines are a major driver of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) pathogenesis. Although these cytokines have traditionally been attributed to CD4 T cells, we have found that CD8 T cells are notably abundant in synovium and make more interferon (IFN)-γ and nearly as much tumor necrosis factor (TNF) as their CD4 T cell counterparts. Furthermore, using unbiased high-dimensional single-cell RNA-seq and flow cytometric data, we found that the vast majority of synovial tissue and synovial fluid CD8 T cells belong to an effector CD8 T cell population characterized by high expression of granzyme K (GzmK) and low expression of granzyme B (GzmB) and perforin. Functional experiments demonstrate that these GzmK GzmB CD8 T cells are major cytokine producers with low cytotoxic potential. Using T cell receptor repertoire data, we found that CD8 GzmK GzmB T cells are clonally expanded in synovial tissues and maintain their granzyme expression and overall cell state in blood, suggesting that they are enriched in tissue but also circulate. Using GzmK and GzmB signatures, we found that GzmK-expressing CD8 T cells were also the major CD8 T cell population in the gut, kidney, and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, suggesting that they form a core population of tissue-associated T cells across diseases and human tissues. We term this population tissue-enriched expressing GzmK or T CD8 cells. Armed to produce cytokines in response to both antigen-dependent and antigen-independent stimuli, CD8 T cells have the potential to drive inflammation.


Alternate JournalSci Transl Med
PubMed ID35704599