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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1993 Mar 15;191(2):601-9.

Cytofluorimetric identification of two populations of double positive (CD4+,CD8+) T lymphocytes in human peripheral blood.

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Laboratory of Clinical Pathology, SS. Giovanni e Paolo Hospital, Venezia, Italy.


Two different subsets of CD4+,CD8+ T lymphocytes have been identified in peripheral blood collected from normal subjects and from patients with different diseases. The subpopulations differed in the degree of CD4 and CD8 antigen expression. Hence, it was possible to distinguish by cytofluorimetric analysis cells with a low (dim) or with a high (bright) fluorescence intensity after the staining with anti-CD4 or anti-CD8 mAbs. CD4+dim,CD8+bright lymphocytes were found in patients with EBV-infectious mononucleosis and were present for less than a month. CD4+bright,CD8+dim T cells were observed in neoplastic patients as well as in healthy subjects and were continuously present in similar percentages over a long period of time (at the moment, about 3 years). Both the subpopulations expressed CD2, CD3, CD5 antigens and had an alpha beta-TCR, but did not express CD1a or CD7. Only CD4+dim,CD8+bright cells expressed HLA-DR antigen and the activation marker CD38, while only CD4+bright,CD8+dim lymphocytes expressed CD56 and CD57 molecules. The hypothesis may be put forward that these two subsets represent an effort of the immune system to cope with different requirements, i.e., of viral or neoplastic origin, while it is not clear the meaning of these cells in healthy subjects.

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