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Nat Immunol. 2009 Oct;10(10):1125-32. doi: 10.1038/ni.1783. Epub 2009 Sep 6.

Thymic self-reactivity selects natural interleukin 17-producing T cells that can regulate peripheral inflammation.

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  • 1Department of Immunobiology, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

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  • Nat Immunol. 2010 Jan;11(1):97.


Interleukin 17 (IL-17)-producing CD4(+) helper T cells (T(H)-17 cells) share a developmental relationship with Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells (T(reg) cells). Here we show that a T(H)-17 population differentiates in the thymus in a manner influenced by recognition of self antigen and by the cytokines IL-6 and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta). Like previously described T(H)-17 cells, the T(H)-17 cells that developed in the thymus expressed the transcription factor RORgamma t and the IL-23 receptor. These cells also expressed alpha(4)beta(1) integrins and the chemokine receptor CCR6 and were recruited to the lung, gut and liver. In the liver, these cells secreted IL-22 in response to self antigen and mediated host protection during inflammation. Thus, T(H)-17 cells, like T(reg) cells, can be selected by self antigens in the thymus.

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