Intraepithelial T cells of the TcR gamma/delta+ CD8- and V delta 1/J delta 1+ phenotypes are increased in coeliac disease

Scand J Immunol. 1989 Dec;30(6):665-72. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3083.1989.tb02474.x.


Expression of the gamma/delta T-cell receptor (TcR) for antigen on CD3+ intraepithelial lymphocytes (IEL) was studied in situ by two-colour immunofluorescence on jejunal tissue sections from 24 patients with coeliac disease and 17 controls. The proportion of intraepithelial TcR gamma/delta+ cells was significantly increased (P less than 0.002) in untreated (median 20%, range 11-53%) as well as in treated (gluten-free diet) coeliac disease (median 23%, range 16-55%) compared with controls (median 2%, range 0-39%). Although TcR alpha/beta+ IEL dominated both in controls and coeliac disease, T cells expressing the TcR gamma/delta were preferentially located within the epithelium rather than in the lamina propria. Paired staining for TcR gamma/delta and CD8 revealed that most (approximately 90%) intraepithelial TcR gamma/delta+ lymphocytes in coeliac disease were CD8-. A remarkably large fraction (median 67%, range 58-94%) of intraepithelial TcR gamma/delta+ cells expressed the V delta 1/J delta 1-encoded epitope revealed by monoclonal antibody delta TCS1. Our results suggested that increase of the intraepithelial TcR gamma/delta+ CD8- subset of T cells is particularly related to coeliac disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte / blood
  • CD3 Complex
  • CD8 Antigens
  • Celiac Disease / immunology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Epithelium / immunology
  • Epitopes* / genetics
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenotype
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / blood
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte
  • CD3 Complex
  • CD8 Antigens
  • Epitopes
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta