Double Negative (DN) αβ T Cells: Misperception and overdue recognition

Maria N. Martina, Sanjeev Noel, Ankit Saxena, Hamid Rabb, Abdel Rahim A. Hamad

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

CD4 - CD8 - double negative (DN) αβ T cells are legitimate components of the normal immune system. However, they are poorly understood and largely ignored by immunologists because of their historical association with the lymphoproliferation that occurs in mice (lpr and gld) and humans (autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndromes patients) with impaired Fas-mediated apoptosis where they are considered abnormal T cells. We believe that the traditional view that DN T cells that cause lymphoproliferation (hereafter referred to as lpr DN T cells) are CD4 and CD8 T cells that lost their coreceptor, conceived more than two decades ago, is flawed and that conflating lpr DN T cells with DN T cells found in normal immune system (hereafter referred to as nDN T cells) is unnecessarily dampening interest of this potentially important cell type. To begin rectifying these misperceptions, we will revisit the traditional view of lpr DN T cells and show that it does not hold true in light of recent immunological advances. In lieu of it, we offer a new model proposing that Fas-mediated apoptosis actively removes normally existing DN T cells from the periphery and that impaired Fas-mediated apoptosis leads to accumulation of these cells rather than de novo generation of DN T cells from activated CD4 or CD8 T cells. By doing so, we hope to provoke a new discussion that may lead to a consensus about the origin of lpr DN T cells and regulation of their homeostasis by the Fas pathway and reignite wider interest in nDN T cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-310
Number of pages6
JournalImmunology and Cell Biology
Volume93
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 19 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology

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