T cell clonal expansions detected in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis express CX3CR1

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25 Scopus citations


The intrahepatic biliary destruction of primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) appears secondary to a multi-lineage response that includes autoantibodies, biliary apotopes, and cellular responses. Although there has been considerable effort in defining the role and specificity of anti-mitochondrial autoantibodies, a major challenge has been the characterization of T effector pathways. This difficulty is due in part to the limitation of current technologies for directly isolating and characterizing autoreactive T cells from patients. Herein, we successfully demonstrate a novel technology for characterizing the surface phenotype of T cell oligoclonal expansions directly ex vivo. Using PBC as a prototypic disease we were able to detect clonal T cell expansions in 15/15 patients examined. Although the T cell expansions from different patients expressed different TCRVβ gene segments, the surface phenotype of the cells was the same. The clonal T cell expansions in PBC patients are CX3CR1 + Fas + effector-memory T cells, a finding of particular importance given the known up-regulation of fractalkine on injured biliary epithelial cells (BEC). In contrast to the persistent aberrantly expanded T cells observed in the PBC patients, T cell expansions detected in response to a herpes viral infection were very dynamic and resolved over time. This protocol can be used to characterize T cell expansions in other autoimmune diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-78
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Autoimmunity
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Autoimmunity
  • CCR7
  • CX3CR1
  • Immunoscope
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis
  • T cell repertoire analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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