Failure of T cell receptor V beta negative selection in murine intestinal intra-epithelial lymphocytes

Int Immunol. 1991 Oct;3(10):1005-13. doi: 10.1093/intimm/3.10.1005.


The intestinal intra-epithelial lymphocytes (IEL) are divided into several subsets on the basis of expression of T cell receptor (TCR) alpha beta and gamma delta, intensity of Thy-1 expression and expression of Lyt-3 chain. To investigate the differentiation pathway of the IEL, we examined the repertoire of V beta segments of T cells in the IEL in BALB/c (H-2d, MIs-1b2a) or AKR/J (H-2k, MIs-1a2b) mice. Among freshly isolated IEL, an appreciable number of T cells bearing V beta 3 or V beta 11, which recognize MIs-2a- or MHC IE-encoded molecules respectively, were detected in BALB/c mice. Similarly, in AKR/J mice, IEL contained appreciable levels of V beta 6-bearing T cells. V beta 3- or V beta 11-bearing T cells in the IEL in BALB/c mice increased to a significant level when incubated with staphylococcal enterotoxin A which specifically stimulates V beta 3- and V beta 11-bearing T cells. Most of IEL without clonal deletion expressed Lyt-2 but not Lyt-3 antigens. Such T cells were hardly detected in other organs, including liver. Our results indicate that TCR alpha beta-bearing intestinal IEL that have not undergone negative selection may have differentiated outside the thymus, presumably at a local site of the intestine and can respond normally to the signal via their TCR.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / immunology*
  • CD4 Antigens
  • CD8 Antigens
  • Epithelium / immunology
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Rearrangement, alpha-Chain T-Cell Antigen Receptor / immunology*
  • Liver / cytology
  • Liver / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Mice, Nude
  • Peyer's Patches / immunology*
  • Phenotype
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Antigens, CD
  • CD4 Antigens
  • CD8 Antigens
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta