Patterns of membrane TcR alpha beta and TcR gamma delta chain expression by normal blood CD4+CD8-, CD4-CD8+, CD4-CD8dim+ and CD4-CD8- lymphocytes

Immunology. 1990 Jul;70(3):351-6.


Enriched CD4+CD8-/CD4-CD8-, CD4-CD8+/CD4-CD8- and CD4-CD8- cell suspensions were prepared from normal peripheral blood by selective immunomagnetic depletion of monoclonal antibody-defined lymphocyte populations. Subsequent examination of these modified cell fractions by two-colour flow cytometry provided a means of determining the expression of membrane T-cell receptor (TcR)alpha beta and TcR gamma delta chains by both major (CD4+ and CD8+) and minor (CD3+CD4-CD8dim+ and CD3+CD4-CD8-) lymphocyte subpopulations. Normal CD4+CD8- lymphocytes were almost invariably (greater than 99%) TcR alpha beta+, whereas lymphocytes expressing membrane CD8, which could be further subdivided according to differences in fluorescent staining intensity into CD3+CD4-CD8+, CD3+CD4-CD8dim+ and CD3-CD4-CD8dim+ components, were characterized by distinct differences in patterns of TcR chain expression. In contrast to CD3+CD4-CD8+ cells, which were predominantly (99%) TcR alpha beta+, CD3+CD4-CD8dim+ lymphocytes showed a significant proportion (33%) of TcR gamma delta+ cells (natural killer-associated CD3-CD4-CD8dim+ cells were uniformly TcR-). The highest proportion (62%) of TcR gamma delta+ cells was associated with the CD3+CD4-CD8- fraction, but these studies also revealed that a significant minority of this population was TcR alpha beta+. Despite some evidence for normal inter-individual variation, further analysis of membrane CD8 fluorescent intensities confirmed clear differential relationships for TcR alpha beta and TcR gamma delta chain expression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antigens, CD / analysis
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte / analysis
  • CD8 Antigens
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / analysis*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology


  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte
  • CD8 Antigens
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta