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Immunity. 2009 Aug 21;31(2):331-41. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2009.08.001. Epub 2009 Aug 13.

Interleukin-1 and IL-23 induce innate IL-17 production from gammadelta T cells, amplifying Th17 responses and autoimmunity.

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  • 1Immune Regulation Research Group, School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland.


Th17 cells, CD4(+) T cells that secrete interleukin-17 (IL-17), are pathogenic in autoimmune diseases and their development and expansion is driven by the cytokines IL-6, TGF-beta, IL-21, IL-1, and IL-23. However, there are also innate sources of IL-17. Here, we show that gammadelta T cells express IL-23R and the transcription factor RORgammat and produce IL-17, IL-21, and IL-22 in response to IL-1beta and IL-23, without T cell receptor engagement. IL-17-producing gammadelta T cells were found at high frequency in the brain of mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). gammadelta T cells activated by IL-1beta and IL-23 promoted IL-17 production by CD4(+) T cells and increased susceptibility to EAE, suggesting that gammadelta T cells act in an amplification loop for IL-17 production by Th17 cells. Our findings demonstrate that gammadelta T cells activated by IL-1beta and IL-23 are an important source of innate IL-17 and IL-21 and provide an alternative mechanism whereby IL-1 and IL-23 may mediate autoimmune inflammation.

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