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Nat Med. 1995 Dec;1(12):1279-83.

Genetic control of the CD4/CD8 T-cell ratio in humans.

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  • 1Institute of Oncology, Interuniversity Center for Research on Cancer, University of Padova, Italy.


We studied the genetic pattern of inheritance of the ratio between circulating CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes in a population of healthy donors. The distribution of the CD4/CD8 ratio in males and females was significantly different and was significantly affected by age. In 46 randomly selected families, the parental CD4/CD8 ratio significantly influenced the ratio in offspring. Complex segregation analysis of the data rejected the non-genetic hypothesis; among the genetic models tested, a major recessive gene with a polygenic component and random environmental effects was the most parsimonious model. These findings indicate that the ratio of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells is genetically controlled in humans.

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