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Nat Immunol. 2007 Jun;8(6):639-46. Epub 2007 May 7.

Surface phenotype and antigenic specificity of human interleukin 17-producing T helper memory cells.

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Institute for Research in Biomedicine, CH-6500 Bellinzona, Switzerland.


Interleukin 17 (IL-17)-producing T helper cells (T(H)-17 cells) have been characterized in mice as a distinct subset of effector cells, but their identity and properties in humans remain elusive. We report here that expression of CCR6 and CCR4 together identified human memory CD4+ T cells selectively producing IL-17 and expressing mRNA encoding the human ortholog of mouse RORgammat, a transcription factor, whereas CCR6 and CXCR3 identified T(H)1 cells producing interferon-gamma and T helper cells producing both interferon-gamma and IL-17. Memory T cells specific for Candida albicans were present mainly in the CCR6+CCR4+ T(H)-17 subset, whereas memory T cells specific for Mycobacterium tuberculosis were present in CCR6+CXCR3+ T helper type 1 subset. The elicitation of IL-17 responses correlated with the capacity of C. albicans hyphae to stimulate antigen-presenting cells for the priming of T(H)-17 responses in vitro and for the production of IL-23 but not IL-12. Our results demonstrate that human T(H)-17 cells have distinct migratory capacity and antigenic specificities and establish a link between microbial products, T helper cell differentiation and homing in response to fungal antigens.

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