gamma delta T cells are necessary for platelet and neutrophil accumulation in limbal vessels and efficient epithelial repair after corneal abrasion

Am J Pathol. 2007 Sep;171(3):838-45. doi: 10.2353/ajpath.2007.070008. Epub 2007 Aug 3.


Corneal epithelial abrasion in C57BL/6 mice induces an inflammatory response with peak accumulation of neutrophils in the corneal stroma within 12 hours. Platelets localize in the limbal vessels throughout the same time course as neutrophils and contribute to wound healing because antibody-dependent depletion of platelets retards epithelial division and wound closure. In the present study, T cells in the limbal epithelium were found to predominantly express the gammadelta T-cell receptor (TCR). Corneal abrasion in wild-type, CD11a(-/-), and P-sel(-/-) mice increased the numbers of gammadelta T cells in the limbal and peripheral corneal epithelium and in the corneal stroma adjacent to the limbal blood vessels. Intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1(-/-) mice exhibited a reduction in gammadelta T-cell accumulation. TCRdelta(-/-) mice exhibited reduced inflammation and delayed epithelial wound healing as evidenced by delayed wound closure, reduced epithelial cell division, reduced neutrophil infiltration, and reduced epithelial cell density at 96 hours after wounding. TCRdelta(-/-) mice also exhibited >60% reduction in platelet localization in the limbus despite similar platelet counts and platelet function assessed with an in vivo thrombosis model. These results are consistent with the conclusion that gammadelta T cells are necessary for efficient inflammation, platelet localization in the limbus, and epithelial wound healing after corneal abrasion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Platelets / metabolism*
  • CD11a Antigen / genetics
  • CD11a Antigen / metabolism
  • Cell Movement
  • Cornea / blood supply*
  • Cornea / metabolism
  • Corneal Injuries*
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology*
  • Epithelium / metabolism
  • Epithelium / pathology
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / genetics
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / metabolism
  • Leukocytes / cytology
  • Leukocytes / physiology
  • Lymphocyte Function-Associated Antigen-1 / genetics
  • Lymphocyte Function-Associated Antigen-1 / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Neutrophils / metabolism*
  • P-Selectin / genetics
  • P-Selectin / metabolism
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets*
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • Wound Healing


  • CD11a Antigen
  • Lymphocyte Function-Associated Antigen-1
  • P-Selectin
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1