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Eur J Immunol. 1993 Jan;23(1):250-4.

Functional double-negative T cells in the periphery express T cell receptor V beta gene products that cause deletion of single-positive T cells.

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Centro de Biologá Molecular, CSIC, Universidad Autónoma, Madrid, Spain.


A proportion of peripheral T cells lack surface expression of the CD4 or CD8 coreceptor molecules and hence are designated as " double negative" (DN). Most DN T lymphocytes express the gamma/delta T cell receptor (TcR), but a minor fraction of them, in both humans and mice, express the alpha/beta TcR. Whereas alpha/beta+ DN T lymphocytes are infrequent (< 1%) in conventional lymphoid organs (spleen, blood, lymph node), they account for two-thirds of the T cells residing in adult bone marrow. Analysis of the TcR V beta repertoire expressed by peripheral DN T cells revealed a high frequency of cells bearing autoreactive TcR that cause deletion of "single-positive" (SP) (CD4+CD8-or CD4-CD8+) T cells. Peripheral DN cells thus represent a cell type that is relatively resistant to clonal deletion. Furthermore, such cells have not been inactivated (anergized) in vivo since they proliferate and secrete interleukins in response to cross-linking by monoclonal antibodies specific for these V beta gene products that are deleted in SPT cells. These results might help to understand the association of peripheral expansion of DN cells and development of autoimmune diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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