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J Exp Med. 2000 May 1;191(9):1569-80.

Enterocyte expression of interleukin 7 induces development of gammadelta T cells and Peyer's patches.

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Department of Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut 06030-1310, USA.


The intestinal mucosa is suggested to support extrathymic T cell development, particularly for T cell receptor (TCR)-gammadelta intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs). TCR-gammadelta cell development requires interleukin (IL)-7; IL-7(-/)- or IL-7 receptor(-/)- mice lack TCR-gammadelta cells. Using the intestinal fatty acid binding protein (iFABP) promoter, we reinstated expression of IL-7 to mature enterocytes of IL-7(-/)- mice (iFABP-IL7). In iFABP-IL7 mice, TCR-gammadelta IELs were restored, as were cryptopatches and Peyer's patches. TCR-gammadelta cells remained absent from all other tissues. Likewise, T cell development in thymus and B cell maturation in the bone marrow and spleen retained the IL-7(-/)- phenotype. Thus, IL-7 expression by enterocytes was sufficient for extrathymic development of TCR-gammadelta cells in situ within the intestinal epithelium and was crucial for organization of mucosal lymphoid tissue.

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