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Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2012 Jan-Feb;30(1 Suppl 70):S57-61. Epub 2012 May 14.

Expression of NKG2D and CD107 in CD8(+) effector memory lymphocytes in Churg-Strauss syndrome.

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Allergology and Clinical Immunology, University of Torino, Italy.



Churg-Strauss syndrome (CSS) is a necrotising vasculitis of small vessels in which oligoclonally expanded TCR Vβ CD8+ effector memory T cells populations (TEM) may be involved in vasculitic damage. The aim of this study was to assess the functional role of CD8+ T cells in CSS patients by flow cytometry analysis of membrane expression of cytotoxic markers NKG2D and CD107a.


Immunostaining of peripheral T cells and effector memory lymphocytes (TEM) from CSS patients and controls was performed by gating CD28 and CD45RA in the CD8+NKG2D+ and CD4+NKG2D+ populations. CD107a expression was evaluated in both whole CD8+ and CD4+ and the TEM cells by gating CD62 and CD45RA following polyclonal stimulation.


NKG2D expression was shifted toward the CD8+CD28- fraction of T cells in CSS patients compared to healthy controls (56.1±25.8% versus 17.2±7.3%, respectively, p=0.002). CD8+Vβ+ expanded T cells showed a significantly increased expression of NKG2D compared to the whole CD8+ T cell population (91.4±1.9% versus 79.7±3.8%, respectively, p=0.015). Moreover the CD8+ population from CSS upregulates CD107a on its surface upon polyclonal stimulation in a significantly higher proportion than healthy subjects (26.2±10.8% versus 8.2±2.9%, p=0.0031) and the majority CD8+ CD107+ cells from CSS patients showed a TEM phenotype compared to controls (64.8±4.9% vs. 19.8±2.9, respectively, p<0.001).


In CSS, CD8+ TEM lymphocytes show markers of cytotoxic activity, which suggests a role for these cells in vasculitic damage.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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