Lung CD4+ Vα2.3+ T-cells in sarcoidosis cohorts with Löfgren's syndrome

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Abstract

Background: Sarcoidosis is diagnosed by a combination of typical clinical and radiological findings together with biopsy proof of non-caseating epithelioid cell granulomas in affected tissues and/or the cell distribution in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF). We aimed at investigating the usefulness of measuring the proportion of T-cell receptor (TCR) CD4+ Vα2.3+ T-cells in BALF as an additive marker to CD4/CD8-ratio to confirm the diagnosis. Methods: From a register consisting of 749 sarcoidosis patients [Löfgren's syndrome (LS) n = 274, non-LS n = 475] with information on Vα2.3+ T-cells, an expansion of CD4+ Vα2.3+ T-cells (CD4+ Vα2.3+ T cells > 10.5% in BALF) was seen in 268 (36%). Controls were healthy volunteers (n = 69) and patients with other pulmonary conditions (n = 39), investigated because of suspicion of sarcoidosis. Results: A proportion of CD4+ Vα2.3+ T-cells in BALF > 10.5% was highly specific for sarcoidosis, with a specificity of 97% and with a sensitivity of 36% (p < 0.0001). Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves show that testing for CD4+ Vα2.3+ T-cells in BALF was a more useable test in individuals with LS [area under the curve (AUC) 0.82, p < 0.0001] compared to the whole patient group (AUC 0.64, p < 0.0001). Conclusion: In this study, we show that an increased proportion of CD4+ Vα2.3+ T-cells in BALF is highly specific for sarcoidosis. This suggests that this T-cell subset could be used as an additional tool to the CD4/CD8-ratio to support the sarcoidosis diagnosis, particularly in patients with LS but also in patients with non-LS.

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Darlington, P., Kullberg, S., Eklund, A., & Grunewald, J. (2020). Lung CD4+ Vα2.3+ T-cells in sarcoidosis cohorts with Löfgren’s syndrome. Respiratory Research, 21(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12931-020-1327-0

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