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Blood. 1998 Jan 1;91(1):340-6.

The umbilical cord blood alphabeta T-cell repertoire: characteristics of a polyclonal and naive but completely formed repertoire.

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  • 1Laboratoire d'Immunogénétique Humaine, INSERM U.396, Institut Biom-edical des Cordeliers et Centre G. Hayem, H-opital Saint-Louis, Paris, France.


Umbilical cord blood (CB) constitutes a promising alternative to bone marrow for allogeneic transplantation and is increasingly used because of the reduced severity of graft-versus-host disease after CB transplantation. We have compared the T-cell receptor beta chain (TCRB) diversity of CB lymphocytes with that of adult lymphocytes by analyzing the complementarity determining region 3 (CDR3) size heterogeneity. In marked contrast to adult samples, we observed bell-shaped profiles in all of the 22 functional beta-chain variable (BV) subfamilies that reflect the lack of prior antigenic stimulation in CB samples. However, the mean CDR3 size and BV usage were comparable between CB and adult samples. BJ2 (65%) segments were used preferentially to BJ1 (35%), especially BJ2S7, BJ2S5, BJ2S3, and BJ2S1, in both CB and in adult lymphocytes. We therefore conclude that although naive as reflected by the heterogeneity of the CDR3 size, the TCRBV repertoire appears fully constituted at birth. The ability to expand TCRB subfamilies was confirmed by stimulation with staphylococcal superantigens toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 and staphylococcal enterotoxin A. This study provides the basis for future analysis of the T-cell repertoire reconstitution following umbilical CB transplantation.

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