Adaptive as well as innate immune traits are variously affected by environmental and genetic influences, but little is known about the impact of genetics on the diversity, differentiation and functionality of γδ T cells in humans. Here, we analyzed a cohort of 95 middle-aged twins from the Danish Twin Registry. The differentiation status of peripheral αβ and γδ T cells was assessed by flow cytometry based on the surface expression of CD27, CD28 and CD45RA. Our data confirm the established associations of latent cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection with an accumulation of late differentiated memory T cells in the αβ compartment as well as in the Vδ1+ γδ T cell subset. A comparison of differentiation phenotypes of γδ and αβ T cells that were not affected by CMV seropositivity identified a significant correlation of early differentiated (ED) Vδ2+ and intermediate differentiated (ID) CD4+ T cells in monozygotic (MZ), but not in dizygotic (DZ) co-twins. Thus, our data suggest a genetic influence on the differentiation of γδ and αß T cell subsets.
Keywords: CMV; flow cytometry; genetic impact; immunomonitoring; γδ T cell differentiation.