CD4+ cell oligoclonality in Crohn's disease: evidence for an antigen-specific response

Hum Immunol. Jun-Jul 1996;48(1-2):114-24. doi: 10.1016/0198-8859(96)00079-1.


To identify disease-specific T cell changes that occur in Crohn's disease (CD) the T-cell receptor (TCR) BV repertoires of lamina propria lymphocytes (LPL) from both disease-active and disease-inactive colonic tissue of three CD patients were compared by a quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and CDR3 length analysis. It was observed that the BV repertoires of LPL isolated from the disease-active and disease-inactive parts of the colon of the same individual were different, and most of the differences occurred in CD4+ LPL with very few differences in the CD8+ populations of LPL. Although the pattern of BV segments that was increased in disease-active relative to disease-inactive tissue was different for all three CD patients, there was an increase in the levels of BV11, 13S2, 15, 16, and 17 segments in the disease-active tissue of all three patients. Standard CDR3 length analysis of BV11, 13S2, 15, 16, and 17 segments revealed that in two of the three CD patients there was a striking degree of TCR oligoclonality in the disease-active tissue that was absent from disease-inactive tissue of the same individual. Additional differences between the disease-active and disease-inactive tissues were observed using a more refined method of CDR3 length analysis, which employs BV- and BJ-specific primers. These observations suggest that at least some of the inflammation in CD is the result of responses by CD4+ T cells to specific antigens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antigens / immunology*
  • Base Sequence / genetics
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Clone Cells
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Crohn Disease / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / analysis


  • Antigens
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta