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J Immunol. 2011 Jun 1;186(11):6091-5. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1100427. Epub 2011 May 2.

Cutting edge: Identification of a motile IL-17-producing gammadelta T cell population in the dermis.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


Dendritic epidermal T cells (DETCs) are a well-studied population of γδ T cells that play important roles in wound repair. In this study, we characterize a second major population of γδ T cells in the skin that is present in the dermis. In contrast to DETCs, these Vγ5-negative cells are IL-7R(hi)CCR6(hi) retinoic acid-related orphan receptor γt(+) and are precommitted to IL-17 production. Dermal γδ T cells fail to reconstitute following irradiation and bone marrow transplantation unless the mice also receive a transfer of neonatal thymocytes. Real-time intravital imaging of CXCR6(GFP/+) mouse skin reveals dermal γδ T cells migrate at ∼4 μm/min, whereas DETCs are immobile. Like their counterparts in peripheral lymph nodes, dermal γδ T cells rapidly produce IL-17 following exposure to IL-1β plus IL-23. We have characterized a major population of skin γδ T cells and propose that these cells are a key source of IL-17 in the early hours after skin infection.

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