Although most circulating T cells in normal subjects express both CD3 and CD5 antigens on the cell surface, a small number lack the CD5 antigen. Recipients of allogeneic bone marrow transplants develop increased numbers of CD3+ CD5- cells, particularly those who develop graft versus host disease (GVHD). This CD3+ CD5- population may rise transiently in patients who have received an autologous bone marrow transplant (BMT) and in patients following completion of intensive chemotherapy for acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). These findings suggest that these CD3+ CD5- cells are a normal component of the regenerating lymphoid system after BMT or chemotherapy.
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