• The Role of Gamma-Delta TCR+ T-cells in the Pathogenesis of Systemic Sclerosis

      Platsoucas, Chris D.; Tsygankov, Alexander Y.; Monestier, Marc; Oleszak, Emilia; Ashby, Barrie; Chong, Parkson Lee-Gau; Myers, Allen R. (Temple University. Libraries, 2008)
      The human gamma-delta (gd) TCR+ T-cell subset may undergo specific antigen-driven activation and clonal expansion, in the context of systemic sclerosis (SSc) pathogenesis. The purpose of this study was; 1) To determine whether gd TCR+ T-cells are clonally expanded in skin biopsies and peripheral blood from patients with SSc; and 2) To develop approaches for identification of the antigens recognized by these clonally-expanded gd TCR+ T-cells. Total RNA was isolated from the skin biopsies and peripheral blood of patients with SSc (n=8). After cDNA synthesis, the g- and d-chain TCR transcripts were amplified by PCR, cloned and sequenced for analysis. Full length copies of the TCR transcripts were constructed, expressed in a TCR-negative Jurkat T-cell line using retroviral gene transduction, and verified by RT-PCR and flow cytometry for gd TCR expression. Putative antigen recognition, by the transduced gd TCR+ Jurkat T-cell lines, was assessed via; 1) Measuring intracellular calcium flux in the transduced cells after stimulation with putative SSc antigens, including DNA topoisomerase I, centromere proteins A and B, hsp 27, hsp 90 and the viral lysate of human cytomegalovirus; and 2) Cytotoxicity against human endothelial cell lines (HUVEC and HLMVEC) via measurement of lactate dehydrogenase release from the targets. We report the presence of substantial, statistically-significant, proportions of identical g- and d-chain transcripts in skin biopsies and PBMC of patients with SSc, demonstrating the presence of antigen-driven clonal expansions. Jurkat T-cells, transduced with the clonally-expanded gd TCR transcripts from a patient, showed no evidence of cytotoxicity against the human endothelial cell lines, or calcium flux in response to stimulation with the putative SSc antigens assessed. In conclusion, extensive clonal expansions of g- and d-chain TCR transcripts were identified in skin biopsies and peripheral blood of patients with SSc, demonstrating the presence of oligoclonal populations of gd TCR+ T-cells in these patients. These gd TCR+ T-cells have undergone proliferation and clonal expansion in vivo in response to as yet unidentified antigens. Furthermore, an approach has been developed for the identification of the antigens recognized by the clonally-expanded gd TCR transcripts, which can be expanded to additional patients with SSc.