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Immunol Res. 2007;37(2):97-111.

Human gamma delta T cells: candidates for the development of immunotherapeutic strategies.

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  • 1Institute of Immunology, University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein Campus Kiel, Michaelisstr. 5, 24105 Kiel, Germany.


A numerically small subset of human T lymphocytes expresses a gamma delta T cell receptor (TCR). These gamma delta T cells share certain effector functions with alpha beta T cells as well as with NK cells and NKT cells. The major peripheral blood gamma delta T cell subset in healthy adults expresses a Vgamma9Vdelta2 TCR, which recognizes small phosphorylated metabolites referred to as phosphoantigens. Vdelta1 gamma delta T cells mainly occur in the intestine. They recognize the stress-induced MICA/B and CD1c. Furthermore, gamma delta T cells express a variety of NK cell and pattern-recognition receptors which are responsible for the "fine-tuning" of effector functions. In recent years, gamma delta T cells start to emerge as a rewarding target for immunotherapeutic strategies against viral infections and cancer. A better understanding of factors that modulate gamma gamma delta T cell function will further eluminate the potential of these cells.

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