High expression of V gamma 8 is a shared feature of human gamma delta T cells in the epithelium of the gut and in the inflamed synovial tissue.
Söderström K., Bucht A., Halapi E., Lundqvist C., Grönberg A., Nilsson E., Orsini DL., van de Wal Y., Koning F., Hammarström ML.
We have analyzed the V-gene usage in gamma delta T cells of the human gut and joint by using a new mAb (B18) specific for V gamma 8 of human TCR-gamma delta+ T cells. The B18+ population constituted a minor subset of the gamma delta T cells in peripheral blood (PB) of healthy persons (6 +/- 5%) and only 1 of 35 gamma delta T cell clones analyzed was positive. In contrast, the B18+ subset was a dominant gamma delta T cell population among intraepithelial lymphocytes (IEL) derived from the human intestine (74 +/- 29, p < 0.002), and two of three IEL clones from patients with coeliac disease were B18+. Interestingly, a higher proportion of B18+ gamma delta T cells was found in the synovial fluid of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) (21 +/- 18%, 0.02 < p < 0.05) compared with normal PB. Furthermore, the B18+ subset was more frequent among IL-2-expanded gamma delta T cells (42 +/- 20%) derived from synovial tissue than among IL-2-expanded cells derived from synovial fluid (p < 0.002) and PB from RA patients (p < 0.02) as well as normal PB (p < 0.002). The V-gene usage of 13 gamma delta T cell clones from the synovial fluid of arthritic patients was analyzed. All B18+ clones (n = 7) expressed mRNA for V gamma 8 together with mRNA for V delta 1 (n = 5) or mRNA for V delta 3 (n = 2). None of the B18- clones expressed V gamma 8 (n = 6). We conclude that the gamma delta T cell that expresses V gamma 8, together with mainly V delta 1, is a major gamma delta T cell subset among the IEL of the gut and a highly frequent subset in the synovial tissue of patients with RA. This subset may correspond to the mouse V gamma 7+ IEL, which has a high degree of amino acid sequence homology with the human V gamma 8 protein.