Indexed on: 10 Feb '09Published on: 10 Feb '09Published in: Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)
Successful application of gammadelta T cells in adoptive cell therapies depends upon our ability to maintain these cells in vivo. Using an adoptive transfer model to study lymphopenia-induced homeostatic expansion, we show that CD8(+) and NK1.1(+) gammadelta T cell subsets are differentially regulated. While CD8(+) gammadelta T cells have an early and sustained advantage following transfer into TCRbeta(-/-)/delta(-/-) mice, NK1.1(+) gammadelta T cells proliferate slowly and are maintained at low numbers. The advantage of the CD8(+) subset could not be explained by increased bcl-2 or cytokine receptor expression but did correlate with Vgamma4(+) and Vdelta5(+) expression. Despite the role of CD8 in MHC class I recognition by alphabeta T cells, beta(2)-microglobulin (beta(2)m)-associated MHC class I molecules were not required for CD8(+) gammadelta T cell homeostatic expansion. Surprisingly, all gammadelta T cells, including the CD8(+) subset, exhibited enhanced proliferation following adoptive transfer into Rag1(-/-)/beta(2)m(-/-) compared with Rag1(-/-) recipients. This effect was most notable for the NK1.1(+) subset, which expresses high levels of NKG2A/CD94 and Ly49. Although expression of these inhibitory receptors correlated with poor homeostatic expansion in the presence of beta(2)m, gammadelta T cell homeostatic proliferation in TCRbeta(-/-)/delta(-/-) mice was not altered in the presence of Ly49C/I- and NKG2-blocking Abs. While the mechanism by which beta(2)m negatively regulates gammadelta T cell homeostasis remains to be determined, this observation is unique to gammadelta T cells and confirms that multiple mechanisms are in place to maintain strict regulation of both the size and the composition of the gammadelta T cell pool.