Distinct T Cell Subsets and Cytokine Production in Cultures Derived from transformation Zone and Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion Biopsies of the Uterine Cervix


Nathalie Jacobs Department of Pathology, CHU, University of Liège, B-4000 Liège, Belgium. E-mail: n.jacobs@ulg.ac.be


Jacobs N, Renard I, Al-Saleh W, Hubert P, Doyen J, Kedzia W, Boniver J, Delvenne P. Distinct T cell subsets and Cytokine production in cultures derived from transformation zone and squamous intraepithelial lesion biopsies of the uterine cervix. AJRI 2003; 49:6–13 © Blackwell Munksgaard, 2003

PROBLEM: The characterization of lymphocytes issued from squamous intraepithelial lesions (SIL) and from the transformation zone (TZ), where the majority of SIL occur, is important to understand the role of immunity in SIL development.

METHOD OF STUDY: We compared lymphocyte populations of the TZ and SIL with those of normal exocervix, using a technique allowing for the isolation of lymphocytes, either from the epithelium or from the underlying stroma of small biopsies.

RESULTS: The majority of cells derived from the epithelium of all biopsies were CD8+ T cells. Some SIL-derived cultures were characterized by an increased proportion of activated TCRγδ+. The production of the immunosuppressive cytokine IL10 was significantly higher in lymphocyte cultures from the normal TZ in comparison with the exocervix. A decreased percentage of effector T cells was observed in cultures derived from the stroma of normal TZ (TCRγδ+) or SIL (CD8+) in comparison with the exocervix.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that a low proportion of effector T cells and IL10 production could contribute to the predisposition of the TZ to the development of SIL and to the progression of SIL to cervical cancer.