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Phenotypes and invariant alpha beta TCR expression of peripheral V alpha 14+ NK T cells

Phenotypes and invariant alpha beta TCR expression of peripheral V alpha 14+ NK T cells

Journal of Immunology 158(5): 2076-2082

A novel subset of peripheral T cells, peripheral NK T cells, is found to be a major population comprising 5% of splenic T and 40% of bone marrow T cells. The majority of peripheral NK T cells are characterized by the expression of an invariant TCR-alpha encoded by V alpha 14/J alpha 281 with a one nucleotide N region. Moreover, a specific reduction of V alpha 14+ NK T cells has been demonstrated to be tightly associated with various autoimmune diseases, indicating their decisive role in autoimmune disease development. In this study, we investigated the phenotypes of peripheral V alpha 14+ NK T cells and their TCR-beta repertoire. Peripheral V alpha 14+ NK T cells, comprise two populations, i.e., small and large sized cells, at an equal frequency, belonged to the CD4- CD8- fraction, and are heat stable antigen(bright), macrophage-1bright, B220bright, CD45RBdim, and Mel-14dim, but CD5-, distinct from thymic NK T cells. TCR-beta analysis clearly showed that peripheral V alpha 14+ NK T cells utilized two to three dominant invariant TCR-beta, such as V beta 8.2 D beta J beta 2.5/V beta 7 D beta J beta 2.1 in the spleen and liver, V beta 8.2 D beta J beta 2.5/V beta 8.3 D beta J beta 2.2/V beta 7 D beta J beta 2.6 in the bone marrow, and V beta 7 D beta J beta 2.1/V beta 3 D beta J beta 1.2 in intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes. Judging from the unusual surface phenotypes, such as heat stable antigen, macrophage-1, B220, CD45RBdim, and Mel-14dim, which are known to be T cell activation markers, peripheral V alpha 14+ NK T cells may always be activated under physiologic conditions, resulting in the oligoclonal expansion of V alpha 14+ NK T cells with different invariant TCR-beta in different peripheral organs. The unique features of V alpha 14+ NK T cells are discussed.

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Accession: 046973741

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PMID: 9036951

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