Open Access Research article

T cell receptor-Vβ repertoires in lung and blood CD4+ and CD8+ T cells of pulmonary sarcoidosis patients

Kerstin M Ahlgren*, Tina Ruckdeschel, Anders Eklund, Jan Wahlström and Johan Grunewald

Author Affiliations

Respiratory Medicine Unit, Department of Medicine, Solna and Center for Molecular Medicine, Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital Solna, Stockholm, Sweden

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BMC Pulmonary Medicine 2014, 14:50  doi:10.1186/1471-2466-14-50

Published: 22 March 2014



Sarcoidosis patients have accumulations of activated CD4+ T cells in affected organs, such as the lungs. T cell receptor (TCR) Vβ-chain usage has been incompletely characterized in these patients.


We surveyed the TCR Vβ usage in CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) cells and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from 15 HLA-typed Scandinavian sarcoidosis patients. In addition, PBMC from 9 healthy volunteers and BAL cells from three of them were examined. Using 21 Vβ family-specific antibodies, we covered approximately 70% of all Vβ chains.


In BAL T cells from sarcoidosis patients, we identified 16 CD4+ T cell expansions in 271 analyses (5.9%) and 21 CD8+ expansions in 240 analyses (8.7%). In PBMC we found 9 CD4+ expansions in 276 analyses (3.3%) and 12 CD8+ expansions out of 263 analyses (4.6%). Consistent with previous studies we found Vβ8 and Vβ16 expansions in sarcoidosis patients’ lungs. In addition, we found lung restricted Vβ22 expansions in three HLA DRB1 03+ patients. However, we found no statistically significant difference in frequency of expansions between patients and healthy controls.


The identified T cell expansions in present study indicate specific antigen recognition in the lungs of sarcoidosis patients.

T cell; T cell receptor; Sarcoidosis; Bronchoalveolar Lavage; Vβ-repertoire; flow cytometry