, Volume 31, Issue 6, pp 372–383 | Cite as

An Uneven Expression of T Cell Receptor V Genes in the Arterial Wall and Peripheral Blood in Giant Cell Arteritis

  • C. Schaufelberger
  • R. Andersson
  • E. Nordborg
  • G. K. Hansson
  • C. Nordborg
  • J. Wahlström


The aim of the study was to investigate T cell receptor (TCR) usage at the time of diagnosis of giant cell arteritis (GCA) and to estimate the degree of clonality of T-cells infiltrating the lesion. Seven patients with biopsy-proven giant cell arteritis were included in the study. Immunocytochemistry in biopsies from the temporal arteries and flow cytometric analysis of peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) was performed using monoclonal antibodies specific for CD3, CD4 and CD8 and 13 TCR Vα and Vβ gene segment products. The CDR3 fragment length polymorphism was assessed by gel electrophoresis of PCR-amplified TCR segments. The T lymphocytes were found to be concentrated to the adventitia rather than the media or intima. Six of the seven patients with GCA had expansions of T lymphocytes, expressing selected TCR V genes in the arterial wall. None of these expansions was found in PBL. The infiltrating T-cells were poly- or oligoclonal. In conclusion, the dominating part of the inflammatory infiltrate in GCA emanates from the adventitial microvessels. There is an uneven expression of TCR V genes by T lymphocytes in the inflammatory infiltrates as compared to peripheral blood T lymphocytes at the time of diagnosis, consistent with an antigen-driven immunological reaction in the arterial wall.


T cell T cell receptor V gene segment giant cell arteritis temporal artery 



We thank Margareta Persson, Fariba Moraghebi and Beata Faber for technical assistance. This study was supported by the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Cancer Society, the Medical Society of Göteborg, the Swedish Heart-Lung Foundation, the Swedish Association against Rheumatism and the Amlöv Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Schaufelberger
    • 1
  • R. Andersson
    • 2
    • 5
  • E. Nordborg
    • 1
  • G. K. Hansson
    • 3
  • C. Nordborg
    • 4
  • J. Wahlström
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of RheumatologySahlgrenska University HospitalGöteborgSweden
  2. 2.Department of Infectious DiseasesSahlgrenska University HospitalGöteborgSweden
  3. 3.Department of Medicine, Solna, Karolinska InstitutetKarolinska University Hospital L4:01StockholmSweden
  4. 4.Department of PathologySahlgrenska University HospitalGöteborgSweden
  5. 5.Research and Development CentreSkaraborg HospitalSkövdeSweden

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