To define the relationship between T cell phenotype and adhesiveness, we examined T cell adhesion to endothelial cell, fibroblast, and epithelial cell monolayers as well as extracellular matrix proteins (collagen and fibronectin) using a three-color flow cytometry-based adherence assay that minimizes basal adhesion levels and facilitates quantitative lymphocyte subtyping. Regardless of monolayer type, monolayer stimulation conditions, or T cell activation status, we found that the γδ-TCR-bearing T cells adhered more efficiently than αβ T cells. The difference was based predominantly on increased levels of activatable LFA-1 (and to a lesser degree VLA-4) because: 1) it correlated precisely with inhibitability by anti-LFA-1 (and VLA-4) mAbs and the levels of LFA-1 (and VLA-4) on the cell surface, and 2) it persisted after maximal LFA-1 (and VLA-4) activation with phorbol dibutyrate. In contrast to most cases of αβ T cell behavior, γδ T cell adhesion to cell monolayers was not linked to memory status, i.e., there was no difference between naive Vδ1+ and memory Vδ2+ populations in levels of LFA-1 (or VLA-4) expression or LFA-1- (or VLA-4-) dependent adhesion to cell monolayers. However, Vδ1+ cells exhibited higher levels of VLA-5 that correlated with an increased adhesiveness to fibronectin and to a 120-kDa fibronectin fragment (FN-120) that contains only the VLA-5-binding domain but not to type I collagen or to a fibronectin fragment (FN-40) that binds only VLA-4. Taken together, the results define a hierarchy for integrin (LFA-1, VLA-4, and VLA-5) expression and consequent adhesion among T cell subsets that is linked to TCR gene usage (but not necessarily linked to memory status) and may thereby help to explain the accumulation and retention of Vδ1+ γδ T cells in epithelial and connective tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1117-1131
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1995


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