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Immunity. 2009 Aug 21;31(2):321-30. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2009.06.020. Epub 2009 Aug 13.

Interleukin-17-producing gammadelta T cells selectively expand in response to pathogen products and environmental signals.

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  • 1Division of Molecular Immunology, MRC National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London NW7 1AA, UK.


Gammadelta T cells are an innate source of interleukin-17 (IL-17), preceding the development of the adaptive T helper 17 (Th17) cell response. Here we show that IL-17-producing T cell receptor gammadelta (TCRgammadelta) T cells share characteristic features with Th17 cells, such as expression of chemokine receptor 6 (CCR6), retinoid orphan receptor (RORgammat), aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), and IL-23 receptor. AhR expression in gammadelta T cells was essential for the production of IL-22 but not for optimal IL-17 production. In contrast to Th17 cells, CCR6(+)IL-17-producing gammadelta T cells, but not other gammadelta T cells, express Toll-like receptors TLR1 and TLR2, as well as dectin-1, but not TLR4 and could directly interact with certain pathogens. This process was amplified by IL-23 and resulted in expansion, increased IL-17 production, and recruitment of neutrophils. Thus, innate receptor expression linked with IL-17 production characterizes TCRgammadelta T cells as an efficient first line of defense that can orchestrate an inflammatory response to pathogen-derived as well as environmental signals long before Th17 cells have sensed bacterial invasion.

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