To characterize the T cell receptor (TCR) repertoire expressed by the V delta 1+ gamma/delta T cell population, we have studied the V delta 1-J delta 1 junctional sequences from peripheral blood samples of healthy donors. We show that, surprisingly, this repertoire is restricted in most healthy adults, with a donor-specific and relatively stable pattern, whereas this repertoire remains unrestricted in infants, and is similar to that of thymocytes. These data contrast with the general assumption that the junctional repertoire of V delta 1+ gamma/delta T cells is extensive, and strongly suggest that peripheral recruitment of V delta 1+ cells bearing particular TCR occurs in humans during the postnatal stage.

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