Single-cell analysis reveals transcriptional changes in adaptive immune cells in ulcerative colitis


  • Heather Mason
  • Univadis Medical News
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A study integrating single-cell RNA and antigen receptor sequencing from human peripheral blood and gastrointestinal mucosal tissue samples from healthy patients and those with ulcerative colitis (UC), revealed a detailed atlas of transcriptional changes occurring in adaptive immune cells in the context of UC, according to an article published in Science Immunology.

The analysis included rectal mucosal biopsy and peripheral blood samples from nine healthy individuals and seven patients with active UC. The researchers integrated single-cell RNA and antigen receptor sequencing to elucidate key components, cellular states, and clonal relationships in both healthy and UC participants.

The results showed a substantial heterogeneity among T and B cell subsets, including within plasma B cells, gamma delta (γδ) T cells, regulatory T (Treg) cells, and CD8+ tissue-resident memory T (TRM) cells. In UC, CD8+ TRM cells exhibited a marked shift toward an inflammatory differentiation state associated with increased expression of the T-box transcription factor eomesodermin (Eomes), leading the authors to postulate that Eomes may be a critical molecular regulator of a pathogenic CD8+ TRM cell differentiation state in UC.

These findings will likely accelerate mechanistic and functional investigations into the role of specific genes in relevant immune cell types and states in UC.