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Eur J Immunol. 2001 Oct;31(10):2901-9.

Tissue-specific segregation of TCRgamma delta+ NKT cells according to phenotype TCR repertoire and activation status: parallels with TCR alphabeta+NKT cells.

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Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Lausanne Branch, University of Lausanne, CH-1066 Epalinges, Switzerland.


Whereas the majority of NKT cells in the mouse express an alpha beta TCR (NKTalpha beta cells), a small subset of NKT cells express a gamma delta TCR (NKTgamma delta). Here we have systematically analyzed the phenotype, TCR repertoire and activation status of NKTgamma delta cells in the thymus, liver, spleen and bone marrow of normal C57BL/6 mice. Our data indicate that NKTgamma delta cells segregate in a tissue-specific manner according to these parameters. While most NKTgamma delta cells in the thymus and liver have a recently activated CD62L(lo) phenotype and a TCR repertoire that is heavily biased to Vgamma1.1 and Vdelta6.3, the majority of NKTgamma delta cells in the spleen and bone marrow are CD62L(hi) and have a much less biased TCR repertoire. Moreover, expression of NK markers is high on NKTgamma delta cells in spleen and bone marrow but low in thymus and liver. Collectively our results reveal a tissue-specific segregation of NKTgamma delta cells that is strikingly similar to that recently described for CD1d-dependent and Cd1d-independent NKTalpha beta cells. We therefore propose that chronic TCR activation by tissue-specific endogenous ligands is a generic property of NKT cells of both the alpha beta and gamma delta lineages.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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