Distribution and changing density of gamma‐delta T cells in murine skin during the induced hair cycle


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Summary Gamma‐delta T cells (gdTC) are recognized as the predominant intraepidermal T‐cell population in murine skin, although their physiological functions are still unclear. Little is known of the exact distribution of gdTC in the other epithelial skin compartments of normal mice. Using selective gdTC‐receptor antibodies in immunohistology (alkaline phosphatase technique), the distribution and density of gdTC was analysed morphometrically in cryostat sections of full‐thickness back skin of normal, adolescent C57 BL‐6 mice in all the different stages of the depilation‐induced hair cycle. We found that, during the entire hair cycle, V gamma 3‐TCR‐bearing lymphocytes are restricted to the epidermis, and to the epithelial hair bulb in, and distal to, the bulge area. No gdTC were seen in the sebaceous glands. During early anagen development, the number of pan‐gdTC receptor‐positive cells increased significantly (P<0·005) in the interfollicular epidermis and the supainfundibular portion of the hair bulb, whereas the number decreased in the infrainfundibular region (P≤0.005). As gdTC are thought to migrate into the skin only during embryogenesis, this finding suggests hair cycle‐dependent, differential intraepithelial proliferation of gdTC in murine skin. We advocate employing only skin of defined hair cycle stages in immunological studies on murine skin, and discuss the value of the C57 BL‐6 model for assessing the functions of gdTC in skin and hair biology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-289
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Dermatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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