The role of gamma-delta T lymphocytes in inflammatory muscle disease

R. Hohlfeld, A. G. Engel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


During the course of a systematic study of T cell lines derived from muscle of patients with various inflammatory myopathies, we identified a new form of polymyositis that is mediated by gamma-delta T cells. In the affected patient's muscle CD3+CD4-CD8- gamma-delta T cells surrounded and invaded nonnecrotic muscle fibers in the same way as CD3+CD8+ alpha-beta T cells surround and invade nonnecrotic muscle fibers in inclusion body myositis and other forms of polymyositis. Gamma-delta T cells were extremely rare or absent in muscles and muscle-derived T cell lines in other patients with polymyositis, inclusion-body myositis, dermatomyositis or granulomatous myopathy. This new form of polymyositis has provided us with a unique opportunity to study cytotoxic gamma-delta T cells and their muscle-fiber targets in situ. All muscle fibers expressed HLA-class I antigen and the 65-kD heat-shock protein. The autoaggressive behavior of the gamma-delta T cells is consistent with the hypothesis that in some inflammatory myopathies autoinvasive T cells recognize muscle fiber associated antigen(s). Further studies are needed to define the type of gamma-delta T cell receptor used and the antigen(s) recognized by gamma-delta T cells in this rare type of autoimmune muscle disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-85
Number of pages11
JournalChemical Immunology
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of gamma-delta T lymphocytes in inflammatory muscle disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this