Thrombin receptor expression and function in large granular lymphocyte proliferative disorders

G. L. Howells, M. Macey, A. M. Murrell, A. R. Green, M. A. Curtis, S. R. Stone

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It has recently been shown that peripheral blood NK-cells and a fraction of T-cells which co-express CD16 and either CD56 or CD57 express the platelet type thrombin receptor. Large granular lymphocytes exhibit a T- or NK-cell phenotype, and therefore these results raise the possibility that thrombin and its receptor may be involved in the biology of large granular lymphocytes in health and disease. It is difficult, however, to perform functional studies using normal blood as a source of large granular lymphocytes, because the small fraction of large granular lymphocytes cannot be separated from other lymphocytes in numbers sufficient for most in vitro experiments. Therefore patients with large granular lymphocyte proliferative disorders have been screened in order to identify a population of cells enriched in large granular lymphocytes that express the thrombin receptor. Expression of the receptor was analysed in polyclonal and clonal large granular lymphocyte proliferative disorders. Using flow cytometry, it was found that the proportion of thrombin receptor positive large granular lymphocytes varied from 3% to 86%. Northern analysis indicated a high level of expression of mRNA in a clonal expansion of large granular lymphocytes that stained positively for the receptor by flow cytometry. Thrombin was found to act as a chemotactic stimulus for large granular lymphocytes from a polyclonal expansion with high numbers of thrombin receptor positive cells. At an optimal concentration of 10-9 M the chemotactic response to thrombin was roughly equivalent to that obtained with the potent chemoattractant 1-oleoyl 2-acetyl glycerol. These findings suggest that thrombin may play a role in the recruitment of large granular lymphocytes in sites of inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-388
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 1994


  • large granular lymphocytes
  • proliferative disorders
  • thrombin receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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