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Immunol Lett. 1995 Mar;45(3):179-84.

Age-related changes in T gamma delta cells of NOD mice.

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Bartholin Institutet, Kommunehospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.


T gamma delta cells have been reported to recognize both mycobacterial and human heat-shock proteins (HSP), and a possible role of 65 kDa HSP has been suggested also in the pathogenesis of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. The aim of this study was to investigate age-related changes of T gamma delta cells during diabetes development in non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice. Using FACS analysis relative numbers of T gamma delta + cells from thymus, blood and spleen were determined in a 3-week-old non-diabetic, at onset of diabetes, and 1-week diabetic NOD mice and corresponding BALB/cJ controls. In comparison to BALB/cJ mice, higher values (2.4 +/- 0.2% vs. 1.1 +/- 0.1%) were found in the thymus of 3-week-old NOD mice (P < 0.01) as well as spleens of 22-week-old littermates (1.1 +/- 0.1% vs. 0.6 +/- 0.1%, P < 0.01). In addition, a higher proportion of T gamma delta cells was observed in blood samples of all age groups of NOD as compared to BALB/cJ mice, with values 3.5 +/- 0.7% (P < 0.05) in 3-week-old to 4.4 +/- 0.9% and 3.7 +/- 0.3% (P < 0.01) in 16- and 22-week-old NOD littermates. Differences in TCR gamma delta expression did not influence the whole CD3+ subset of mononuclear cells. Thus, our results show relatively higher numbers of T gamma delta cells in NOD mice and their increase in the periphery at onset of diabetes and later may suggest that T gamma delta cells participate in beta-cell destruction.

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