Involvement of T cells and alterations in T cell receptors in sarcoidosis

Semin Respir Infect. 1998 Sep;13(3):174-83.


Sarcoidosis is recognized to be a multisystem granulomatous disease characterized by activated, cytokine-producing T cells and macrophages at sites of inflammation. The purpose of this article is to review new evidence concerning the role of T cells in sarcoidosis. Recent work on the molecular structure and repertoire of T cell receptor genes in sarcoidosis provide direct evidence that sarcoidosis is characterized by selective expansions of oligoclonal populations of T cells at sites of inflammation, consistent with local antigen-driven immune responses. In addition, data on cytokine production in sarcoidosis indicate that tissue inflammation is dominated by expression of type 1 (T helper 1) cytokines such as interferon-gamma and interleukin-12 that, in keeping with experimental models of granulomatous diseases, likely orchestrate the granulomatous response. These studies offer new insight into the molecular mechanisms of granuloma formation in sarcoidosis and provide a framework for developing new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of this disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / immunology*
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Cytokines
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell