Increase of circulating gamma/delta T lymphocytes in the peripheral blood of patients affected by active inflammatory bowel disease

Clin Exp Immunol. 1994 Oct;98(1):83-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.1994.tb06611.x.


In order to study the role of gamma/delta T cells in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in humans, we measured the percentage of these cells in the peripheral blood, assessed the ratio of the non-disulphide-linked (delta TCS1) type of T cell receptor (TCR) in the total gamma/delta T cells, studied the co-expression of gamma/delta TCR and accessory molecules CD8 and CD16, and compared these data with both the type and the activity of the disease. Percentage levels and absolute numbers of gamma/delta+ T cells were higher in active patients than in controls (P < 0.05), mainly as a result of an increase of V delta 1+ (delta TCS1) T cell subset (P < 0.05). This trend was strongly retained independently of disease activity and clinical picture. An increased percentage of TCR delta 1+/CD16+ cells was observed in our patients compared with controls (P < 0.05). In contrast, no difference was observed as far as the TCR delta 1+/CD8+ cells were concerned. These results suggest that IBD is associated with an expansion of gamma/delta T cells in peripheral blood, which may play a role in the pathogenesis of these disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antigens, CD / blood
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / genetics
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / immunology
  • Crohn Disease / genetics
  • Crohn Disease / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / genetics*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / immunology*
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta / genetics*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*


  • Antigens, CD
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta