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Evidence that the T cell antigen receptor may not be involved in cytotoxicity mediated by gamma/delta and alpha/beta thymic cell lines.


After culture in IL-2, thymocytes expressing either TCR-alpha/beta or -gamma/delta acquired the ability to lyse hematopoietic and solid tumor cell targets without deliberate immunization or apparent restriction by the MHC. Moreover, TCR-alpha/beta- and TCR-gamma/delta-bearing thymic cell lines demonstrated an essentially identical spectrum of cytolysis against several tumor cell targets. Cytotoxicity was not inhibited by antibodies against CD3 or CD2 and modulation of the CD3/TCR complex also failed to affect cytotoxicity. Thus, non-MHC-restricted cytotoxicity can be mediated by thymocytes with either TCR-alpha/beta or TCR-gamma/delta, but the TCR may not be responsible for target recognition.

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