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J Immunol. 2001 Nov 15;167(10):6038-44.

Preferential usage of TCR-Vbeta17 by peripheral and cutaneous T cells in nickel-induced contact dermatitis.

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Department of Dermatology, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule, Aachen, Germany.


Nickel (Ni) is one of the most common contact sensitizers in man, and Ni-induced contact dermatitis is considered as a model of hapten-induced delayed type hypersensitivity. Previous studies indicated that Ni-reactive T cells derived from Ni-allergic individuals preferentially express distinct TCR-Vbeta chains. However, data on the TCR-Vbeta repertoire of Ni-responsive T cells are not consistent. Therefore, the aim of this study was to identify the TCR-Vbeta receptors of Ni-responsive peripheral and cutaneous T cells in a cohort of 17 donors with Ni-induced contact dermatitis in comparison with those of 6 healthy controls. Peripheral NiSO(4)-responsive T lymphocytes showed a significant overexpression of TCR-Vbeta17 and the frequency of TCR-Vbeta17(+) T cells correlated significantly with the in vitro reactivity of PBMC to NiSO(4). In addition, the cutaneous infiltrate of Ni-induced patch test reactions consisted primarily of Vbeta17(+) T cells. The majority of patch test-derived NiSO(4)-responsive T cells of three allergic donors were TCR-Vbeta17(+), whereas patch test-derived NiSO(4) unresponsive T cells of four additional donors did not express TCR-Vbeta17. Skin-derived Ni-responsive T cell lines from three donors uniformly secreted the Th2 cytokine, IL-5, but no IFN-gamma or IL-10. These in vitro and in vivo findings strongly suggest that T cells with a restricted TCR-Vbeta repertoire, i.e., Vbeta17, predominate in NiSO(4)-induced contact dermatitis and may be crucial in the effector phase of Ni hypersensitivity.

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