Quantitative analysis of T cell receptor diversity in clinical samples of human peripheral blood

Sarfraz A. Memon, Claude Sportès, Francis A. Flomerfelt, Ronald E. Gress, Frances T. Hakim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The analysis of T cell receptor diversity provides a clinically relevant and sensitive marker of repertoire loss, gain, or skewing. Spectratyping is a broadly utilized technique to measure global TCR diversity by the analysis of the lengths of CDR3 fragments in each Vβ family. However the common use of large numbers of T cells to obtain a global view of TCR Vβ CDR3 diversity has restricted spectratyping analyses when limited T-cell numbers are available in clinical setting, such as following transplant regimens. We here demonstrate that one hundred thousand T cells are sufficient to obtain a robust, highly reproducible measure of the global TCR Vβ repertoire diversity among twenty Vβ families in human peripheral blood. We also show that use of lower cell number results not in a dwindling of observed diversity but rather in non-reproducible patterns in replicate spectratypes. Finally, we report here a simple to use but sensitive method to quantify repertoire divergence in patient samples by comparison to a standard repertoire profile we generated from fifteen normal donors. We provide examples using this method to statistically evaluate the changes in the global TCR Vβ repertoire diversity that may take place during T subset immune reconstitution after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation or after immune modulating therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-92
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunological Methods
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 31 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
  • Immune reconstitution
  • Spectratype
  • TCR Vβ CDR3 repertoire diversity in human peripheral blood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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