Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is an inflammatory lung disease characterized by the accumulation of inflammatory cells and deposition of collagen, resulting in lung remodelling. High numbers of T cells are present in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) of IPF patients, although the characteristics of these cells are yet to be determined. To elucidate the pathogenic mechanisms of IPF, we analysed the T cell receptor (TCR) of BALF lymphocytes in three patients with IPF and three healthy subjects as control. TCR repertoire of BALF lymphocytes and T cell clonality were examined by family PCR and Southern blot analysis, and single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP), respectively. We observed that the TCR repertoire in the lung was heterogeneous, both in the control subjects and three patients with IPF. SSCP analysis demonstrated an increase in the number of accumulated T cell clones in BALF of two of the three patients, but not in the healthy subject. Furthermore, junctional sequence analysis showed the presence of conserved amino acid motifs (ETGRSG, LAxG, QGQ, GxQP, GRxG, VAR, PGT, GTI, GGT, TGR, LxLxQ, SGQ) in the TCR-CDR 3 region of BAL lymphocytes in patients with IPF, whereas only two amino acid motifs (VTTG, GGE) were found in the control. Our findings suggest that T cells in BALF of patients with IPF expand oligoclonally in the lung, suggesting antigen stimulation of these cells.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy