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PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e41940. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0041940. Epub 2012 Jul 25.

IL-21 regulates the differentiation of a human γδ T cell subset equipped with B cell helper activity.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Biopatologia e Biotecnologie Mediche e Forensi, Università degli Studi di Palermo, Palermo, Italy.


Vγ9Vδ2 T lymphocytes recognize nonpeptidic antigens without presentation by MHC molecules and display pleiotropic features. Here we report that coculture of Vγ9Vδ2 cells with phosphoantigen and IL-21 leads to selective expression of the transcription repressor Bcl-6 and polarization toward a lymphocyte subset displaying features of follicular B-helper T (T(FH)) cells. T(FH)-like Vγ9Vδ2 cells have a predominant central memory (CD27(+)CD45RA(-)) phenotype and express ICOS, CD40L and CXCR5. Upon antigen activation, they secrete IL-4, IL-10 and CXCL13, and provide B-cell help for antibody production in vitro. Our findings delineate a subset of human Vγ9Vδ2 lymphocytes, which, upon interaction with IL-21-producing CD4 T(FH) cells and B cells in secondary lymphoid organs, is implicated in the production of high affinity antibodies against microbial pathogens.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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