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J Clin Invest. 1992 Jul;90(1):204-10.

Predominant activation and expansion of V gamma 9-bearing gamma delta T cells in vivo as well as in vitro in Salmonella infection.

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Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Kyushu University, Fukuoka City, Japan.


Gamma delta T cell receptor-positive cells (gamma delta T cells) have recently been implicated to play a role in the protection against infectious pathogens. Serial studies on gamma delta T cells in 14 patients with salmonella infection have revealed that the proportions of gamma delta T cells (mean +/- SD: 17.9 +/- 13.2%) in salmonella infection were significantly increased (P less than 0.01) compared with 35 normal controls (5.0 +/- 2.6%) and 13 patients with other bacterial infections (4.0 +/- 1.4%). Expansion of gamma delta T cells was more prominent in the systemic form (28.9 +/- 10.8%) than in the gastroenteritis form (10.5 +/- 7.9%) of salmonella infection (P less than 0.01). Most in vivo-expanded gamma delta T cells expressed V gamma 9 gene product. Increased activated (HLA-DR+) T cells were observed in all the six patients with the systemic form and four of the seven with gastroenteritis form. Especially in the six with systemic form, gamma delta T cell activation was significantly higher than alpha beta T cell activation at the early stage of illness (P less than 0.01). When peripheral blood lymphocytes from normal individuals were cultured with live salmonella, gamma delta T cells were preferentially activated and expanded and most of them expressed V gamma 9. Purified gamma delta T cells also responded to live salmonella in vitro. The present study suggests that human gamma delta T cells play a role in the protection against salmonella infection in vivo.

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