Evidence for programmed cell death of self‐reactive γδ T cell receptor‐positive thymocytes

Alexander L. Dent, Louis A. Matis, Jeffrey A. Bluestone, Stephen M. Hedrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


The negative selection of T cells expressing the γδ T cell antigen receptor (γδ T cells) was studied using transgenic mice expressing a γδ receptor with specificity for an H‐2T‐linked class I major histocompatibility complex molecule from H‐2b mice. The potentially self‐reactive γδ thymocytes in H‐2b/d transgenic mice are larger and have lower levels of γδ T cell receptor expression than γδ thymocytes from H‐2d mice. H‐2b/d γδ thymocytes do not respond to H‐2b antigen‐presenting cells, and thus are inactive compared to H‐2d γδ thymocytes. However, the H‐2b/d γδ thymocyte population, but not the H‐2d γδ thymocyte population, undergoes a high rate of programmed cell death when placed in overnight culture. These observations constitute the first direct evidence that self‐reactive γδ thymocytes undergo programmed cell death. This in vitro programmed cell death of self‐reactive γδ thymocytes may reflect the clonal deletion process that results in a depletion of γδ T cells in the peripheral lymphoid organs of adult H‐2b/d mice. We also present evidence that self‐reactive γδ T cells, similarly to αβ T cells, undergo a lesser degree of clonal deletion in neonatal mice compared to adult mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2482-2487
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Deletion
  • Tolerance
  • γδ T cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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