Apoptosis of γ/δ T cells in human ehrlichiosis

Charles W. Caldwell, E. Dale Everett, Gregory Mcdonald, Yohannes W. Yesus, William E. Roland, Hui Ming Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Expansion of activated T cells expressing the T-cell receptor (TCR) γ/δ CD45RO, and HLA-DR antigens is a prominent feature of acute infection with Ehrlichia chaffeensis in humans. The fate of these activated cells and the resolution of the γ/δ T-cell response with return to the usual α/β T- cell populations in this disease are not clearly understood. At a morphologic level, apoptotic cells are present in the peripheral blood during the acute and resolution phases of the infection. Simple culture of density gradient- separated lymphocytes from the blood of patients with acute ehrlichiosis produced cell death rapidly in the media compared to α/β T cells. This loss of viability after incubation was apparently mediated by apoptosis, based on flow cytometric and morphologic analyses. The results suggest that most primed (CD45RO+) and activated (HLA-DR+) γ/δ T cells in acute ehrlichiosis might be subject to removal from the body by programmed or apoptotic cell death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)640-646
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of clinical pathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • γ/δ T cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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