Prominence of γδ T cells in the ruminant immune system

Wayne R. Hein, Charles R. Mackay

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

352 Citations (Scopus)


The lymphoid systems of sheep and cattle contain a large number of γδ T cells, in striking contrast to the lymphoid systems of humans and mice. In neonatal animals particularly, these cells comprise the predominant fraction of T cells in the blood. Here Wayne Hein and Charles Mackay discuss what is currently known about the ontogeny, phenotype, tissue distribution and function of γδ T cells in ruminants. There are a number of interesting molecular features that characterize ruminant γδ T cells, but these do not entirely explain the high frequency of use of the γδ T-cell receptor in these animals. Studies on sheep, cattle or other animals that preferentially use γδ T cells should provide insights into the biological significance of the existence of two distinct forms of the T-cell receptor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-34
Number of pages5
JournalImmunology Today
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1991
Externally publishedYes

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