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J Immunol. 1994 May 15;152(10):5109-19.

Circulating T cell repertoire complexity in normal individuals and bone marrow recipients analyzed by CDR3 size spectratyping. Correlation with immune status.

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  • 1Blood Research Institute of The Blood Center of Southeastern Wisconsin, Milwaukee 53233.


The analysis of the T cell repertoires involved in local or systemic immune responses is beginning to play an important role in many clinical situations. These include autoimmunity, response to viral or bacterial superantigens, alloimmunity including allograft rejection, and tumor immunity. Here we analyze circulating T cell repertoires by determining TCR beta-chain gene complexity using a modification of V beta family-specific PCR. This approach, called CDR3 size spectratyping, uses the size heterogeneity of the CDR3 as a further source of specificity in TCR analysis. It has been used here to analyze the complexity and stability of circulating T cell repertoires in normal adults, including bone marrow donors, and bone marrow transplant recipients. Normal spectratypes are both complex and stable. The repertoire complexity of marrow recipients correlates with their state of immune function. Contractions and gaps in repertoires are revealed in individuals suffering from recurrent infections associated with T cell impairment. Spectratype analysis is applicable to other studies of specific repertoire skewing such as may be associated with immunodeficiency or found at sites of immune activity.

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