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BACKGROUND:gamma delta T cells, like alpha beta T cells, are components of all well-studied vertebrate immune systems. Yet, the contribution of gamma delta T cells to immune responses is poorly characterized. In particular, it has not been resolved whether gamma delta cells, independent of any other T cells, can help B cells produce immunoglobulin and form germinal centers, anatomical foci of specialized T cell-B cell collaboration. RESULTS:TCR beta-/- mice, which lack all T cells except gamma delta T cells, routinely displayed higher levels of antibody than fully T cell-deficient mice. Repeated parasitic infection of TCR beta-/- mice, but not of T cell-deficient mice, increased antibody levels and induced germinal centers that contained B cells and monoclonal gamma delta cells in close juxtaposition. However, antibody specificities were more commonly against self than against the challenging pathogen. gamma delta T cell-B cell help was not induced by repeated inoculation of TCR beta-/- mice with mycobacterial antigens. CONCLUSIONS:In the absence of any other T cells, gamma delta T cell-B cell collaboration can be significantly enhanced by repeated infection. However, the lack of obvious enrichment for antibodies against the challenging pathogen distinguishes gamma delta T cell help from alpha beta T cell help induced under analogous circumstances. The increased production of generalized antibodies may be particularly relevant to the development of autoimmunity, which commonly occurs in patients suffering from alpha beta T cell deficiencies, such as AIDS.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/s0960-9822(02)70718-5

Type

Journal article

Journal

Current biology : CB

Publication Date

10/1996

Volume

6

Pages

1317 - 1325

Addresses

Department of Biology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.

Keywords

Germinal Center, B-Lymphocytes, T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer, Animals, Mice, Mice, Mutant Strains, Eimeria, Coccidiosis, Immunoglobulin G, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta, Antibodies, Protozoan, Antibodies, Antinuclear, Immunity, Cellular, Gene Rearrangement, gamma-Chain T-Cell Antigen Receptor, CD4 Antigens