We have previously reported that the T-cell receptor (TCR) γδ+ T cells increase in mice infected with an intracellular bacteria Listeria monocytogenes, and the cells predominantly express Vδ6 and Vγ1 genes. In this study, we used a monoclonal antibody (mAb) specific to TCR Vγ1 to estimate the frequency of Vγ1+ T cells and we discuss their significance in protection against L. monocytogenes. The spleen, liver and peritoneal exudate cells from mice intraperitoneally infected with L. monocytogenes were analysed by flow cytometry. In all the organs investigated, Vγ1+ cells increased predominantly among TCR γδ+ T cells at an early phase (day 5–7) of the infection. To elucidate the significance of the Vγ1+ T cells in the protection against L. monocytogenes, mice were depleted of TCR Vγ1+γδ T cells or all TCR γδ+ T cells by intraperitoneal inoculation of anti-Vγ1 mAb or anti-pan TCR γδ mAb, respectively, before infection with L. monocytogenes. The bacterial growth in the spleen and the liver examined on day 5 after the infection increased significantly by the depletion of TCR Vγ1+ T cells. The numbers of L. monocytogenes in TCR Vγ1+ T-cell-depleted mice were nearly the same as in mice depleted of all TCR γδ+ T cells. These results demonstrated that Vγ1+ T cells are the predominant population of γδ T cells in protection against L. monocytogenes at the early phase of the primary infection
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