T cell clones were established from peripheral blood of a patient with severe aplastic anemia. 8 of 18 individual clonal T cell populations stably coexpressed CD4 and CD8 molecules, a phenotype characteristic for thymocytes and a minor subpopulation of circulating T lymphocytes. Analysis of T cell receptor genes revealed identical rearrangements of T cell receptor beta chain genes, suggesting clonality of these T cells. CD4+/CD8+ T cells clones were found to be efficiently cytotoxic towards autologous lymphoblasts. Autocytotoxicity could be blocked by a CD3 MAb, a MAb specific for monomorphic MHC class II determinants, and particularly, by an MHC-DP-specific MAb, suggesting specificity for autologous DP molecules. Perhaps more important, CD4+/CD8+ T cell clones inhibited differentiation of autologous progenitor enriched bone marrow cells in vitro by a direct cell-mediated mechanism. These data suggest that circulating cytotoxic CD4+/CD8+ T cell clones specific for autologous MHC-DP determinants may be involved in hematopoietic failure in some cases of aplastic anemia.
U Moebius, F Herrmann, T Hercend, S C Meuer