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Mediators Inflamm. 2001 Aug; 10(4): 179–189.
PMCID: PMC1781712

Lymphocyctes Tgammadelta in clinically normal skin and peripheral blood of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and their correlation with disease activity.


Human Tgammadelta lymphocytes constitute from 1 to 15% of all peripheral blood lymphocytes. Recent work has demonstrated that this population plays a major role in the pathogenesis of infectious and immune diseases. Increased numbers of gammadelta T cells have been found in affected skin from systemic sclerosis and chronic cutaneous lupus erythematosus patients. In our study, we have determined the numbers of Tgammadelta lymphocytes and their subpopulations in peripheral blood from 29 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and in 19 healthy volunteers using flow cytometry and specific monoclonal antibodies. The same cells in uninvolved skin from SLE patients and human controls using immunohistochemical analysis were estimated. T-Cell receptor (TCR) delta chain gene rearrangement was identified with primers for Vdelta1, Vdelta2 and Vdelta3 by the polymerase chain reaction. Statistical analysis showed a significantly decreased number of gammadelta T cells in SLE patients (26.4+/-16.9/microl) compared with the control group (55.3+/-20.6/microl (p < 0.001). The number of Vdelta2 TCR+ and Vgamma9 TCR+ subpopulations was also lower in SLE patients than in healthy persons. No statistical correlation between disease activity and the number of gammadelta T cells was demonstrated. The percentage of Tgammadelta lymphocytes in clinically normal skin from SLE patients was twice (22.0+/-9.4%) that found in the skin from healthy persons (11.1+/-5.5%) (p < 0.002). Higher percentages of the Vdelta2 TCR+ and Vgamma9 TCR+ subpopulation of lymphocytes were found in the skin from SLE patients. We have also found positive correlation between the percentage of Tgammadelta lymphocytes in skin and the activity of SLE (r=0.594, p < 0.001), and between subpopulation Vdelta3 TCR+ and disease activity (r=0.659, p< 0.001). In conclusion, the results of our studies demonstrate that, in patients with SLE, accumulation of Tgammadelta lymphocytes can be seen in clinically normal skin, and the percentage of these cells correlates with the activity of the disease.

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Selected References

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