Role of gamma delta T cells in inflammatory bowel disease

Pathobiology. 2002-2003;70(3):150-5. doi: 10.1159/000068147.


gammadelta T cells have previously been shown to play a protective role in various animal models of chronic inflammation (e.g., experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, collagen-induced arthritis, and non-obese diabetes). This immunoregulatory potential is exerted by synthesizing various anti-inflammatory cytokines and growth factors (e.g., transforming growth factor-beta). As the normal balance between inflammatory and regulatory cytokines is perturbed in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) a protective effect of gammadelta T cells seems likely. This notion is supported by our finding of increased mortality of rats with 2,4,6-trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid-induced colitis following gammadelta T cell depletion. In contrast, no effect was observed after depletion of gammadelta T cells in a Crohn's disease animal model with terminal ileitis (TNF(DeltaARE) mice). Therefore, future studies must further define where in the intestinal immune system gammadelta T cells exert their protective function and how this can be used in the treatment of IBD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Blocking / pharmacology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacology
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / chemically induced
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / immunology*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / pathology
  • Crohn Disease / immunology
  • Crohn Disease / pathology
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Female
  • Ileitis / genetics
  • Ileitis / immunology
  • Ileitis / pathology
  • Longevity
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Lew
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta / analysis
  • Specific Pathogen-Free Organisms
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / immunology
  • Trinitrobenzenesulfonic Acid / pharmacology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / genetics
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • Antibodies, Blocking
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Cytokines
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Trinitrobenzenesulfonic Acid