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Eur J Immunol. 2000 Oct;30(10):2972-9.

CRTH2 is the most reliable marker for the detection of circulating human type 2 Th and type 2 T cytotoxic cells in health and disease.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Florence, Italy.


Cells expressing the chemoattractant receptor-homologous molecule expressed on Th2 cells (CRTH2) and the chemokine C receptor (CCR)4 were consistently detected in the circulation of healthy subjects, whereas numbers of cells expressing CCR3 were much lower. While all CCR4+ cells were T cells, a small proportion of CRTH2+, and about a half of the few CCR3+ cells were basophils. Only CRTH2+ T cells contained Th2 or Tc2 cells, but neither Th0 or Tc0, nor Th1 or Tc1 cells, although not all of them produced Th2-type cytokines. By contrast, CCR4+ T cells contained both Th2 or Tc2 and Th0 or Tc0 cells and even Th1 or Tc1 cells, whereas the few CCR3+ T cells were not clearly classifiable for their cytokine profile. CRTH2+ T lymphocytes were virtually devoid of chemokine CX receptor (CXCR)3+ and CCR5+ cells, but enriched in CCR3+ and CCR4+ cells. By contrast, CCR3+ or CCR4+ T cells did not show a similar clear-cut dichotomy in the expression of CCR5/CXCR3 or CCR3/ CCR4. Subjects with atopic dermatitis or HIV infection with low levels of circulating CD4+ T cells revealed a significant increase of CRTH2+ cells within both the CD4+ and the CD8+ T cell subset. These data support the concept that at present CRTH2 is the more reliable marker for detection of both human Th2 and Tc2 cells in health and disease.

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