Different cytokine production profiles of gamma delta T cell clones: relation to inflammatory arthritis

Eur J Immunol. 1994 Sep;24(9):2087-91. doi: 10.1002/eji.1830240923.


This study was performed to investigate whether gamma delta T cells could also be divided into subsets, identified by a cytokine profile, as described for alpha beta T helper (Th) cell subsets. Cytokine production was studied in 22 gamma delta T cell clones obtained from the synovial fluid and peripheral blood of one patient with inflammatory arthritis and compared to that of 26 alpha beta T cell clones of the same and different patients. Interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) was produced by 18 (82%) and interleukin-4 (IL-4) by 17 (77%) out of 22 gamma delta T cell clones, respectively. In contrast, IL-10 was not produced, except at very low level in one case. The mean levels of IL-4 were lower for clones derived from synovial fluid. When considering the production of IFN-gamma as an indicator of Th1 and that of IL-4 as an indicator of Th2, respectively, the most common pattern was a gamma delta Th1-like pattern, with the combination of high levels of IFN-gamma and low levels of IL-4. This pattern was found in V delta 1+ clones, all from synovial fluid. Additional patterns were also observed: a mixed, probably gamma delta Th0-like pattern with a more balanced production of both IFN-gamma and IL-4; a gamma delta Th1 pattern with the production of IFN-gamma alone; a gamma delta Th2 pattern with the production of IL-4 alone. These three patterns were also seen in blood gamma delta T cells which were all V delta 2, indicating that these patterns were independent of the V delta phenotype. gamma delta T cell clones produced lower levels of IFN-gamma (p = 0.001) and higher levels of IL-4 than alpha beta clones (p < 0.02). These differences in cytokine production between alpha beta and gamma delta subsets and within these subsets may contribute to their respective role in chronic inflammation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arthritis, Juvenile / immunology*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology
  • CD3 Complex / immunology
  • Clone Cells
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-10 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-4 / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta / immunology*
  • Synovial Fluid / cytology
  • Synovial Fluid / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • CD3 Complex
  • Cytokines
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta
  • Interleukin-10
  • Interleukin-4
  • Interferon-gamma