Article Text

Download PDFPDF

T cell specificity and cross reactivity towards enterobacteria,Bacteroides,Bifidobacterium, and antigens from resident intestinal flora in humans
  1. R Duchmann,
  2. E May,
  3. M Heike,
  4. P Knolle,
  5. M Neurath,
  6. K-H Meyer zum Büschenfelde
  1. I Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Langenbeckstrasse 1, D-55101 Mainz, Germany
  1. Professor Meyer zum  Büschenfelde.


BACKGROUND T cell responses to normal intestinal bacteria or their products may be important in the immunopathogenesis of chronic enterocolitis.

AIMS To investigate the T cell specificity and cross reactivity towards intestinal bacteria.

PATIENTS/METHODS T cell clones were isolated with phytohaemagglutinin from peripheral blood and biopsy specimens of inflamed and non-inflamed colon from five patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and two controls. T cell clones were restimulated with anaerobicBacteroides andBifidobacteria species, enterobacteria, and direct isolates of aerobic intestinal flora. T cell phenotype was analysed by single-cell immunocyte assay.

RESULTS Analysis of 96 T cell clones isolated from peripheral blood and biopsy specimens from two patients with IBD showed that bothBifidobacterium andBacteroides species specifically stimulate proliferation of CD4+TCRαβ+ T cell clones from both sites and that cross reactivity exists between these anaerobic bacteria and different enterobacteria. Analysis of 210 T cell clones isolated from three patients with IBD and two controls showed that indigenous aerobic flora specifically stimulate T cell clones from peripheral blood and biopsy specimens from a foreign subject. Some of these flora specific T cell clones were cross reactive with defined enterobacteria. In addition, T cell clones stimulated by their own indigenous aerobic flora were identified in patients with IBD.

CONCLUSION Immune responses to antigens from the intestinal microflora involve a complex network of T cell specificities.

  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • T cells
  • intestinal flora
  • mucosal immunity
View Full Text

Statistics from


  • Abbreviations:
    inflammatory bowel disease
    polymerase chain reaction
    bacteria from autologous intestine—that is, sonicates and mononuclear cells from the same subject
    bacteria from heterologous intestine—that is, sonicates and mononuclear cells from different subjects
    T cell receptor

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Linked Articles