Autoaggressive myocytotoxic T lymphocytes expressing an unusual γ/δ T cell receptor

Gerd Pluschke, Doris Rüegg, Reinhard Hohlfeld, Andrew G. Engel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Polymyositis mediated by γ/δ T cells is a unique disease in which autoaggressive T lymphocytes surround, invade, and destroy muscle fibers. Histochemically, the vast majority of muscle-infiltrating T cells in a patient with polymyositis were reactive with a pan-γ/δ T cell receptor (TCR)-specific monoclonal antibody (TCR-δ1+), but unlike >90% of peripheral blood γ/δ T cells, these lymphocytes did not react with Vδ1- or Vγ9-specific antibodies (A13- and TiγA-, respectively). Differential reactivity with two different Vδ2-specific monoclonal antibodies (BB3-/ TiV-δ2+) indicated that the infiltrating T cells express a Vδ2-containing TCR with unusual additional structural features. Using conventional and anchored polymerase chain reaction for the analysis of TCR transcripts, we found a striking predominance of one unusual Vδ2-Jδ3 recombination and one Vγ3-Jγ1 recombination. Both the unusual phenotype (TCR-δ1+/A13-/ TiγA-/BB3-/TiV-δ2+) and the dominance of distinct TCR transcripts are compatible with the assumption that one T cell clone, which expresses a Vγ3-Jγ1-Cγ1/Vδ2-Jδ3-Cδ disulfide-linked TCR, dominates among the infiltrating T cells of the polymyositis muscle specimen analyzed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1785-1789
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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