T cell receptor delta repertoire in inflamed and noninflamed colon of patients with IBD analyzed by CDR3 spectratyping

Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2002 Jun;282(6):G1024-34. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00224.2001.


Gamma/delta T cells might play an important role in autoimmune conditions like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In the present study, we characterized the T cell receptor (TCR)-delta repertoire by complementarity determining region 3 (CDR3) spectratyping in the inflamed and noninflamed mucosa and in the peripheral blood of subjects with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. In contrast to previously published data about alpha/beta T cells, we rarely found oligoclonal expansions of gamma/delta T cells specific only for the inflamed mucosa. The same dominant gamma/delta T cell expansions were also present in the noninflamed colon. Furthermore, the peripheral gamma/delta TCR repertoire was oligoclonal but clearly distinct from that in the inflamed intestine. Thus our results do not support a role for antigen-specific gamma/delta T cells in IBD, and dominant gamma/delta T cells of the peripheral blood are not likely to be derived from the inflamed gut. However, in several patients, the TCR-delta-repertoire was highly diversified, whereas in others we observed a loss of dominant gamma/delta T cell clones when inflamed and noninflamed mucosa were compared. In conclusion, those changes indicate that gamma/delta T cells might play an important role in a subset of patients with IBD.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / immunology*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / physiopathology
  • Colon / immunology
  • Complementarity Determining Regions / genetics*
  • Complementarity Determining Regions / immunology
  • Crohn Disease / immunology*
  • Crohn Disease / physiopathology
  • Diverticulitis, Colonic / immunology
  • Diverticulitis, Colonic / physiopathology
  • Gene Expression / immunology
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta / genetics*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology


  • Complementarity Determining Regions
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta