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Critical Reviews™ in Immunology
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ISSN Imprimer: 1040-8401
ISSN En ligne: 2162-6472

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Critical Reviews™ in Immunology

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevImmunol.v23.i56.60
16 pages

Compartmentalization g/d T Cells and Their Putative Role in Mucosal Immunity

Wolfgang Holtmeier
Medizinische Klinik II, Division of Gastroenterology, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universitat, 60590 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

RÉSUMÉ

g/d T cells are an enigmatic group of cells and their functions still remain unknown. The epithelialassociated g/d T cells, which are abundant at mucosal surfaces, are ideally situated to contribute to the initial stages of the immune response. Recent evidence suggests that they recognize stress-induced self-antigens which would enable a homogenous population of g/d T cells to monitor multiple insults to the epithelium. This could explain the observed oligoclonality and homogenous distribution of cells carrying identical TCR within mucosal surfaces. However, the analysis of the TCR d repertoire from different mucosal surfaces indicated that g/d T cells are highly compartmentalized. Thus, g/d T cells are not one homogenous group of cells which recognize the same (stressinduced) self-antigens, but consist of different subsets that are likely to have distinct functions. It is possible that g/d T cells interact with antigens that are specific for that organ or recognize foreign antigens which are limited to that site. In addition it was shown that g/d T cells can have opposite functions and be proinflammatory or promote epithelial healing. This review focuses on the distribution and repertoire of mucosal g/d T cells and discusses what is currently known about the functions of these cells. Furthermore, their potential role in inflammatory bowel disease is examined.


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