gammadelta T cells: an important source of IL-17

Curr Opin Immunol. 2008 Jun;20(3):353-7. doi: 10.1016/j.coi.2008.03.006. Epub 2008 Apr 23.


IL-17 is a cytokine that plays an important role in orchestrating innate immune function. In addition, IL-17 has been shown to exacerbate autoimmune diseases. CD4(+) alphabeta T cells, gammadelta T cells, and NK cells all produce IL-17. Th17 cells are a newly defined alphabeta(+) T cell lineage characterized by IL-17 production. However, gammadelta T cells are often the major source of this cytokine. Their response can be very rapid during bacterial infections and has been shown to be protective, but IL-17-producing gammadelta T cells have also been found to exacerbate collagen-induced arthritis. Interestingly, some gammadelta T cells produce IL-17 in response to IL-23 alone, even in naïve animals, suggesting they are already differentiated and may develop differently than CD4(+) alphabeta Th17 cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Interleukin-17 / biosynthesis*
  • Interleukin-17 / classification
  • Mice
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta / analysis*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Interleukin-17
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta