Gamma delta T-cell help in responses to pathogens and in the development of systemic autoimmunity

Immunol Res. 1997;16(3):229-41. doi: 10.1007/BF02786392.


Mice rendered deficient in alpha beta T-cells by single-gene knockout mutation show enhanced levels of autoantibody formation and even some symptoms of autoimmune disease. This is remarkable given that most experimental studies heretofore have indicated that the development of autoimmune disease is highly multigenic, requiring the complementary actions of multiple loci. The basis of the phenomenon in alpha beta T-cell-deficient mice appears to be the provision of help to B-cells by other cells, including gamma delta T-cells. Perhaps surprisingly, gamma delta T-cell help seems quite efficacious, particularly after infection, when it can culminate in the formation of germinal centers. Furthermore, two independent sets of studies reviewed here indicate that significant levels of self-reactive IgG can also be provoked by gamma delta T-cells independent of germinal center formation. The task ahead is to integrate this pathway into the physiologic immune responses to healthy individuals, immunocompromised individuals, and newborns.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / genetics
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • Autoimmunity / genetics
  • Autoimmunity / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


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