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J Immunol. 1995 Apr 15;154(8):3704-12.

Daudi lymphoma killing triggers the programmed death of cytotoxic V gamma 9/V delta 2 T lymphocytes.

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Scientific Institute H. S. Raffaele, Milan, Italy.


A common feature of human V gamma 9/V delta 2 gamma delta T lymphocytes is their ability to kill Daudi lymphoma cells. We show here that during this killing a substantial fraction of cytotoxic gamma delta T cells dies as well. Their death has morphologic, cytometric, and biochemical features of apoptosis and depends on TCR triggering. We suggest that interaction with the target physiologically induces the programmed death of the cytotoxic gamma delta effector. The death of activated gamma delta T cells upon challenge with the relevant Ag may represent a negative feedback mechanism and contribute to explain the limited time span of gamma delta T cell expansions during infectious diseases, even when pathogens are not eliminated and persist in the host.

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