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Nat Immunol. 2005 Jun;6(6):600-7. Epub 2005 Apr 24.

Transforming growth factor-beta controls T helper type 1 cell development through regulation of natural killer cell interferon-gamma.

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Section of Immunobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


Interferon-gamma and interleukin 12 produced by the innate arm of the immune system are important regulators of T helper type 1 (T(H)1) cell development, but signals that negatively regulate their expression remain controversial. Here we show that transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) controlled T(H)1 differentiation through the regulation of interferon-gamma produced by natural killer (NK) cells. Blockade of TGF-beta signaling in NK cells caused the accumulation of a large pool of NK cells secreting copious interferon-gamma, responsible for T(H)1 differentiation and protection from leishmania infection. In contrast, blockade of TGF-beta signaling in dendritic cells did not affect dendritic cell homeostasis or interleukin 12 production, thus indicating a previously undescribed demarcation of the function of TGF-beta in NK cells versus dendritic cells.

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