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Gamma Delta T Cells and Their Involvement in COVID-19 Virus Infections

Von Massow, G; Oh, S; Lam, A; Gustafsson, K; (2021) Gamma Delta T Cells and Their Involvement in COVID-19 Virus Infections. Frontiers in Immunology , 12 , Article 741218. 10.3389/fimmu.2021.741218. Green open access

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Abstract

The global outbreak of the SARS-Cov-2 virus in 2020 has killed millions of people worldwide and forced large parts of the world into lockdowns. While multiple vaccine programs are starting to immunize the global population, there is no direct cure for COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-Cov-2 infection. A common symptom in patients is a decrease in T cells, called lymphopenia. It is as of yet unclear what the exact role of T cells are in the immune response to COVID-19. The research so far has mainly focused on the involvement of classical αβ T cells. However, another subset of T cells called γδ T cells could have an important role to play. As part of the innate immune system, γδ T cells respond to inflammation and stressed or infected cells. The γδ T cell subset appears to be particularly affected by lymphopenia in COVID-19 patients and commonly express activation and exhaustion markers. Particularly in children, this subset of T cells seems to be most affected. This is interesting and relevant because γδ T cells are more prominent and active in early life. Their specific involvement in this group of patients could indicate a significant role for γδ T cells in this disease. Furthermore, they seem to be involved in other viral infections and were able to kill SARS infected cells in vitro. γδ T cells can take up, process and present antigens from microbes and human cells. As e.g. tumour-associated antigens are presented by MHC on γδ T cells to classical T-cells, we argue here that it stands to reason that also viral antigens, such as SARS-Cov-2-derived peptides, can be presented in the same way. γδ T cells are already used for medical purposes in oncology and have potential in cancer therapy. As γδ T cells are not necessarily able to distinguish between a transformed and a virally infected cell it could therefore be of great interest to investigate further the relationship between COVID-19 and γδ T cells.

Type: Article
Title: Gamma Delta T Cells and Their Involvement in COVID-19 Virus Infections
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.741218
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.741218
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2021 von Massow, Oh, Lam and Gustafsson. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Keywords: COVID-19, gamma-delta T cell, SARS-Cov-2, lymphopenia, T cells
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Biochemical Engineering
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10139016
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