Direct ultrastructural evidence of target-directed polarization by cytotoxic lymphocytes in lesions of human graft-vs-host disease.
Cytotoxic lymphocytes are thought to kill target cells by means of potent cytotoxic granules that congregate near the microtubular organizing center and the Golgi apparatus at one pole of the killer cell. We searched for evidence of this type of polarization in 12 lip biopsy specimens from patients with acute and/or chronic graft-vs-host disease (GVHD) compared with two lip specimens from normal individuals. Lymphocytes with such polarization were found in contact with epithelial cells of the squamous mucosa in all 12 cases of GVHD, and cells of the cuboidal minor salivary duct epithelium were found in two of 11 evaluable cases. The data add support to the hypothesis that cytolytic lymphocytes attack epithelial cells in GVHD.
Sale, GE; Gallucci, BB; Schubert, MM; Sullivan, KM; Thomas, ED
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