Using monoclonal antibodies identifying all gamma/delta and alpha/beta T cell receptors in cytofluorometric analysis, we have compared the composition of intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes (i-IEL) in euthymic and athymic germ-free (GF) and conventional (SPF) mice. The results show a marked influence of microbial colonization in the numbers of single-positive (CD4+ or CD8+) alpha/beta i-IEL, but little effect in the pool size or characteristics of gamma/delta i-IEL. In young athymic mice, virtually no alpha/beta i-IEL are detected, while considerable numbers of gamma/delta i-IEL remain, though reduced in GF animals.

This content is only available as a PDF.