Granulysin-producing cytotoxic T cells in the mucocutaneous lesions of Behçet disease: a distinct inflammatory response from erythema nodosum

Clin Exp Dermatol. 2011 Dec;36(8):903-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2230.2011.04159.x. Epub 2011 Aug 25.


Background: Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) have been recognized as an important effector cell in Behçet disease (BD). Granulysin is a cytolytic granule protein expressed by CTLs and natural killer cells.

Aim: To evaluate the involvement of granulysin-producing T cells in the pathogenesis of BD.

Methods: Using immunohistochemistry, lymphocyte subsets expressing granulysin were investigated in mucocutaneous lesions of BD. Serum granulysin levels were assayed by ELISA.

Results: Granulysin-positive cells were seen in specimens from oral ulcers, genital ulcers and acne-like eruptions, but not erythema nodosum-like lesions. Both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells expressed granulysin. Serum granulysin levels did not correlate with disease activity in BD.

Conclusion: Immune reactions mediated by granulysin-positive CTLs may play an important role in the pathogenesis of acne-like eruptions, oral ulcers and genital ulcers in BD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte / blood
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte / metabolism*
  • Behcet Syndrome / immunology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology*
  • Young Adult


  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte
  • GNLY protein, human