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Cytometry A. 2014 Oct;85(10):869-82. doi: 10.1002/cyto.a.22512. Epub 2014 Jul 18.

Membrane expression of NK receptors CD160 and CD158k contributes to delineate a unique CD4+ T-lymphocyte subset in normal and mycosis fungoides skin.

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INSERM, U976, F-75010, Paris, France; Univ Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, UMR-S 976, F-75739, Paris, France.


CD160 is a GPI-anchored Ig-like receptor identified by the BY55 mAb on human circulating CD56dim+ NK cells and TCRγδ lymphocytes. In addition, while most intestinal T lymphocytes express it, only a minor circulating CD4+ or CD8+ T lymphocyte subset is CD160+. Here we describe a population of CD4+ CD160+ human blood T lymphocytes of circulating cutaneous T cells. These rare T lymphocytes represent 2.1 ± 1.9% of the circulating CD3+ CD4+ T cells, coexpress CD8αα, CD244, and perforin but lack CD28 expression, a phenotype corresponding to effector memory cytotoxic T-lymphocytes. Functional studies further confirmed their cytotoxic potential. These cells lack αEβ7 integrin and CCR7 expression but do express skin-addressing molecules CLA, and CCR4. In normal human skin, CD4+ CD160+ cells represent 34.6 ± 14.7% of the CD4+ T lymphocytes extracted by collagenase treatment. These T cells coexpress CLA (81 ± 13.6%), CCR4 (62.3 ± 15.9%), and some CD8αα (19.6 ± 13%) or CCR7 (24.4 ± 11.7%) expression. Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma cells express the natural killer receptor KIR3DL2 (CD158k) used as a tumor marker. Not only we confirmed the expression of this marker in the blood and/or skin of mycosis fungoides patients but we also show for the first time CD158k expression (often associated with CD160) on cutaneous CD4+ T cells from healthy individuals (25.3 ± 15%). Therefore, CD4+ CD160+ T cells expressing CD158k might represent specialized cutaneous lymphocytes devoted to immune surveillance, from which could originate cutaneous T-cell lymphomas such as mycosis fungoides.


BY55; CD158k; CD160; KIR3DL2; mycosis fungoides; skin lymphocytes

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