The inflammatory response in the lungs of mice infected with an influenza A virus consists largely of macrophages and CD3+ T cells. Most T lymphocytes recovered before day 7 after infection express mRNA for the T cell receptor alpha/beta (TCR-alpha/beta), while TCR-gamma/delta mRNA+ cells are found at much higher frequency over the next 7 d. The predominant surface phenotype for the TCR-gamma/delta mRNA+ population is CD3+4-8-TCR-alpha/beta-. Some lymphocytes expressing all the known V gamma genes are found in the inflammatory exudate, but V gamma 2+/V gamma 1+ and V gamma 4+ T cells are present at highest frequency. The response is staged, with maximal numbers of V gamma 4+ cells occurring on day 10 after infection, while the predominant phenotype on day 13 is V gamma 2/V gamma 1+. The emerging peak in numbers of V gamma 4+ lymphocytes is paralleled by increasing numbers of macrophages expressing hsp mRNA. The later maxima found for the V gamma 2+/V gamma 1+ T cells is consistent with the possibility that at least some of these lymphocytes are responding to the hsp+ cells and are functioning to resolve the inflammatory process.

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