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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Aug 28;98(18):10261-6.

Attributes of gammadelta intraepithelial lymphocytes as suggested by their transcriptional profile.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


gammadelta T lymphocytes in the intestinal intraepithelial layer (gammadelta IELs) are thought to contribute to immune competence, but their actual function remains poorly understood. Here we used DNA microarrays to study the gene expression profile of gammadelta IELs in a Yersinia infection system to better define their roles. To validate this approach, mesenteric lymph node CD8(+) alphabeta T cells were similarly analyzed. The transcription profiles show that, whereas lymph node CD8(+) alphabeta T cells must be activated to become cytotoxic effectors, gammadelta IELs are constitutively activated and appear to use different signaling cascades. Our data suggest that gammadelta IELs may respond efficiently to a broad range of pathological situations irrespective of their diverse T cell antigen receptor repertoire. gammadelta IELs may modulate local immune responses and participate in intestinal lipid metabolism, cholesterol homeostasis, and physiology. This study provides a strong basis for further investigations of the roles of these cells as well as mucosal immune defense in general.

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