Demonstration of local clonality of mucosal T cells in human colon using DNA obtained by microdissection of immunohistochemically stained tissue sections

Ahmet Dogan, Deborah K. Dunn-Walters, Thomas T. MacDonald, Jo Spencer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Intraepithelial lymphocytes have been shown to be oligoclonal and to be disseminated widely along the human intestine. However, studies using monoclonal antibodies have suggested that superimposed on the widespread clones, there is local variability in the mucosal T cell population. We have investigated the possibility that local dominant clones of T cells are present in the colonic mucosa by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of T cell receptor β chain junctional regions using DNA extracted from microdissected fragments of tissue sections. Colon from two right hemicolectomy specimens was sampled at 7-cm intervals. Adjacent areas of mucosa were microdissected from sections from each colon sample. When the PCR products were separated according to size on polyacrylamide gels, bands of identical size were often observed when DNA extracted from adjacent fragments of mucosa had been used. Different bands were present when the different samples of colon had been studied. Sequencing of the PCR products confirmed that clonally related T cells were present in adjacent areas of mucosa, whereas different clones dominated at distant sites. DNA extracted from cells microdissected from the T cell zone of Peyer's patch was treated identically. The sequences obtained from the Peyer's patch, as expected, were diverse. However, one of the sequences identified was identical to that of one of the clones in the colon, implying that this clone was either trafficking through the Peyer's patch or possibly originated from the Peyer's patch. In this study, we also identified the Peyer's patches as a site of proliferation of CD4+ T cells. No T cell division was observed in the lamina propria. The molecular and immunohistochemical observations together support the hypothesis that the Peyer's patches are a source of mucosal T cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1240-1245
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1996


  • Intestine
  • Polymerase chain reaction
  • T cell receptor genes
  • T cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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