Morphologic and functional characterization of human peripheral blood T cells expressing the T cell receptor γ/δ

S. Ferrini, D. Zarcone, M. Viale, G. Cerruti, R. Millo, A. Moretta, C. E. Grossi

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The morphologic and functional characteristics of cells freshly isolated from human peripheral blood and bearing a T cell receptror (TcR) γ/δ were analyzed. Cell preparations highly enriched for TcR γ/δ+ cells were obtained by treatment of E rosette-forming lymphocytes with anti-CD4 and anti-CD8 monoclonal antibodies (mAb) and complement. These preparations consisted of 64-82% TcR γ/δ+ lymphocytes, as indicated by the sum of cells reacting with the BB3 and A13 mAb which define two distinct, nonoverlapping, TcR γ/δ+ cell subsets in the peripheral blood. TcR γ/δ cells were able to form conjugates with the natural killer-sensitive K-562 and with the natural killer-resistant HL-60-R tumor cell lines. The cytochemical localization of lysosomal acid hydrolases showed that 95%-98% of the cells in the TcR γ/δ+ preparations had the morphological features of granular lymphocytes. Moreover, electron microscopy analyses showed that TcR γ/δ+ cells had electron-dense granules dispersed in the cytoplasm and a variety of smooth vesicles, a morphology identical to that of other CD3- or CD3+ granular lymphocyte subsets. Freshly isolated TcR γ/δ+ cells were unable to lyse K-562 and natural killer-resistant targets, such as HL-60-R and P815. However, low levels of target cell lysis were observed upon triggering of the effectors by anti-CD3 TcR mAb or by lectin. After short-term culture with interleukin 2, TcR γ/δ+ cells acquired a strong cytolytic activity against K-562 and HL-60-R target cells in the absence of triggering stimuli, and also displayed high levels of cytolytic activity against P815 in the presence of anti-CD3/TcR mAb.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1183-1188
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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