Clonal analysis of T lymphocytes infiltrating the thyroid gland in Hashimoto's thyroiditis

M. Bagnasco, S. Ferrini, D. Venuti, I. Prigione, G. Torre, R. Biassoni, G. W. Canonica

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T cells isolated from thyroid tissue and peripheral blood of 2 patients with Hashimoto's thyroiditis were studied by a high cloning efficiency microculture technique. Clonal efficiencies of 37 and 24% were obtained from thyroid-derived T cell cultures, while 40 and 90% efficiencies resulted from peripheral-blood-derived cultures. A prevalence of T4-/T8+ T cell clones were found in thyroid infiltrates. The functional analysis of the clones demonstrated significantly higher proportions of clones with cytolytic activity in a lectin-dependent assay in thyroid-derived microcultures, as compared to peripheral blood-derived ones. The proportion of clones displaying natural-killer-like activity was increased in 1 patient only. Cytolytic activity was displayed not only by all T4-/T8+, but also by several T4+/T8- intrathyroid clones. Remarkable proportions of cytolytic clones were also able to release interleukin-2 upon phytohemagglutinin stimulation. Finally, the proportion of T cell clones able to release gamma-interferon following mitogen stimulation was significantly higher in thyroid- vs. peripheral-blood-derived microcultures. These results provide further data about the possible pathogenetical role of both regulatory and effector T lymphocytes in human autoimmune thyroiditis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-146
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Archives of Allergy and Applied Immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy


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