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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Oct 23;109(43):17549-54. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1204327109. Epub 2012 Oct 9.

Interleukin 7 (IL-7) selectively promotes mouse and human IL-17-producing γδ cells.

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London Research Institute, Cancer Research UK, London WC2A 3LY, United Kingdom.


IL-17-producing CD27(-) γδ cells (γδ(27-) cells) are widely viewed as innate immune cells that make critical contributions to host protection and autoimmunity. However, factors that promote them over IFN-γ-producing γδ(27+) cells are poorly elucidated. Moreover, although human IL-17-producing γδ cells are commonly implicated in inflammation, such cells themselves have proved difficult to isolate and characterize. Here, murine γδ(27-) T cells and thymocytes are shown to be rapidly and substantially expanded by IL-7 in vitro and in vivo. This selectivity owes in substantial part to the capacity of IL-7 to activate STAT3 in such cells. Additionally, IL-7 promotes strong responses of IL-17-producing γδ cells to TCR agonists, thus reemphasizing the cells' adaptive and innate potentials. Moreover, human IL-17-producing γδ cells are also substantially expanded by IL-7 plus TCR agonists. Hence, IL-7 has a conserved potential to preferentially regulate IL-17-producing γδ cells, with both biological and clinical implications.

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