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Microbiol Immunol. 2012 Apr;56(4):217-27. doi: 10.1111/j.1348-0421.2012.00435.x.

Close link between development and function of gamma-delta T cells.

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Division of Host Defense, Medical Institute of Bioregulation, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.


Murine γδ T cells develop as the first T-cell lineage within the fetal thymus and disproportionately localize in mucosal tissues such as lung, skin, uterus, and intestine of adult mice. These unique developmental features and distribution patterns of γδ T cells enable rapid functioning against various insults from pathogens. γδ T cells are also able to respond to local inflammation and consequently regulate the pathogenesis of autoimmune disorders and development of tumors in mice and humans. Hence, it is clinically important to understand the mechanisms that regulate γδ T cell functions. Recent evidence has shown that generations of effector γδ T cell subsets producing IFN-γ, IL-4, and IL-17 are programmed in the murine thymus before their migration to peripheral tissues. This review outlines our current understanding of the development and function of γδ T cells as they influence both innate and acquired immunity.

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