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Resident pulmonary lymphocytes expressing the γ/δ T-cell receptor


THE biological role of cells bearing the γδS T-cell antigen receptor (TCR) is as yet unclear1-3. Although there are indications that some γδ+ cells can mediate cytotoxicity4-7, their antigen-related functions have not yet been defined. In the mouse, γδ+ ceils constitute 1–3% of T cells in lymphoid organs8,9. Intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes (lELs) and dendritic epidermal cells (DECs) also appear to carry the γδ TCR6,10-13. The strategic locations of DECs and lELs have led to the suggestion that γδ+ cells could constitute a first line of defence in the vicinity of large surfaces of contact with the environment14. We report here that an estimated 8–20% of resident pulmonary lymphocytes (RPLs) are CD3+αβ TCR, and presumably γδ TCR+. Furthermore, mice exposed to aerosols containing a Mycobacterium tuberculosis extract have an increased number of activated CD3+αβ-TCR pulmonary T cells which can be propagated in vitro.

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Augustin, A., Kubo, R. & Sim, GK. Resident pulmonary lymphocytes expressing the γ/δ T-cell receptor. Nature 340, 239–241 (1989).

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