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J Clin Invest. 1990 Aug;86(2):409-15.

Identification of activated T cell receptor gamma delta lymphocytes in the liver of tumor-bearing hosts.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Tohoku University School of Dentistry, Sendai, Japan.


T cell receptor (TcR)gamma delta cells are known to be a minor population of T lymphocytes in the blood (less than 10%) and other peripheral lymphoid organs in healthy donors. We demonstrated here that a large proportion of TcR gamma delta cells, i.e., up to 30% of mononuclear cells (MNC) were detectable in the liver, but not other lymphoid organs of cancer patients. More importantly, the majority of such TcR gamma delta cells (greater than 70%) were shown to be lymphoblastic by electron microscopy. An activation marker of T lymphocytes, Leu-19 (CD56) was also highly expressed on the hepatic TcR gamma delta cells. The possibility of hepatic TcR gamma delta cells being activated was further examined in mice. C3H/He mice injected with syngeneic tumor cells were demonstrated to have an increased number of liver MNC; such MNC showed an ability to proliferate in vitro. These mice eventually had a considerable proportion of TcR gamma delta cells in the liver, showing activation markers, the Ia and LFA-1 antigens. These results suggest that the liver may be an important organ for activation and probably expansion of TcR gamma delta cells especially in tumor bearing hosts.

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