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Gamma delta T cell

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noun, plural: gamma delta T cells

A T cell identifiable by their distinctive T cell receptors, i.e. being made up of one gamma chain and one delta chain


In mammals, the T lymphocytes (also called T cells) form in the bone marrow and attains maturity in the thymus. There are different types of T lymphocytes and one of them is natural killer T cell.

A gamma delta T cell is a type of T lymphocyte characterized by their distinctive T cell receptor. Most T lymphocytes have a receptor made up of two glycoproteins, alpha and beta chains. In contrast, the gamma delta T cell has cell receptor comprised of gamma and delta chains. These lymphocytes are less common but they occur abundantly in the gut mucosa, particularly within the intraepithelial lymphocytes.1

The gamma delta T cells are presumed to have a role in the recognition of lipid antigens. However, they have not been observed to process antigen or present peptide epitopes by major histocompatibility complex as seen with other lymphocytes. Furthermore, the antigens that activate them are still unclear.

See also:

1 Holtmeier, W; Kabelitz, D (2005). "Gammadelta T cells link innate and adaptive immune responses". Chemical immunology and allergy. Chemical Immunology and Allergy. 86: 151–83.