In this study we identify and characterize a subset of human peripheral blood T cells, present in all individuals, that has features previously described for T cells either separately or in special circumstances. These cells are found in purified suspensions of resting peripheral blood lymphocytes within the CD8+ T lymphocytes, express αβ T cell receptor (TCR), and can be identified and isolated because of high-density expression of surface CD11b (TCRαβ+/CD3+/CD8+/CD11b+ cells). They coexpress constitutively the IL-2 receptor β chain, FcγRIIIA, and CD56. Although they do not mediate spontaneous cytotoxicity, CD3+/CD8+/CD11b+ cells have cytotoxic potential, demonstrated in redirected cytotoxicity assays with P815 target cells in the presence of anti-FcγRIII (CD16) or anti-CD3 monoclonal antibodies. Stimulation of CD3+/CD8+/CD11b+ cells with rIL-2 induces proliferation, cytotoxicity against NK-sensitive and NK-resistant target cells, and expression of surface activation antigens, including IL-2 receptor α chain (CD25). CD3+/CD8+/CD16+/CD56+ cell clones with cytotoxic functions including those mediated by engagement of surface CD16 were obtained by limiting-dilution cloning of purified CD3+/CD8+/CD11b+ cells in the presence of rIL-2 and autologous feeder cells. Our data support the hypothesis that the CD3+/CD8+/CD11b+/CD16+ cells represent a discrete peripheral blood lymphocyte subset that could be the physiological counterpart of that expanded in several pathological conditions and in large granular lymphocyte lymphocytosis.
- Fcγ receptor
- Interleukin-2 receptor
- large granular lymphocyte expansion
- lymphokine-activated killer cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy