Human Langerhans cells induce distinct IL-22-producing CD4+ T cells lacking IL-17 production

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Dec 22;106(51):21795-800. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0911472106. Epub 2009 Dec 8.


IL-22 is a cytokine that acts mainly on epithelial cells. In the skin, it mediates keratinocyte proliferation and epidermal hyperplasia and is thought to play a central role in inflammatory diseases with marked epidermal acanthosis, such as psoriasis. Although IL-22 was initially considered a Th17 cytokine, increasing evidence suggests that T helper cells can produce IL-22 even without IL-17 expression. In addition, we have shown the existence of this unique IL-22-producing T cell in normal skin and in the skin of psoriasis and atopic dermatitis patients. In the present study, we investigated the ability of cutaneous resident dendritic cells (DCs) to differentiate IL-22-producing cells. Using FACS, we isolated Langerhans cells (LCs; HLA-DR(+)CD207(+) cells) and dermal DCs (HLA-DR(hi)CD11c(+)BDCA-1(+) cells) from normal human epidermis and dermis, respectively. Both LCs and dermal DCs significantly induced IL-22-producing CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells from peripheral blood T cells and naive CD4(+) T cells in mixed leukocyte reactions. LCs were more powerful in the induction of IL-22-producing cells than dermal DCs. Moreover, in vitro-generated LC-type DCs induced IL-22-producing cells more efficiently than monocyte-derived DCs. The induced IL-22 production was more correlated with IFN-gamma than IL-17. Surprisingly, the majority of IL-22-producing cells induced by LCs and dermal DCs lacked the expression of IL-17, IFN-gamma, and IL-4. Thus, LCs and dermal DCs preferentially induced helper T cells to produce only IL-22, possibly "Th22" cells. Our data indicate that cutaneous DCs, especially LCs, may control the generation of distinct IL-22 producing Th22 cells infiltrating into the skin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / immunology
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-17 / biosynthesis*
  • Interleukin-22
  • Interleukins / biosynthesis*
  • Langerhans Cells / cytology
  • Langerhans Cells / immunology*
  • Lymphocyte Culture Test, Mixed
  • Psoriasis / immunology
  • Skin / cytology
  • Skin / immunology


  • Interleukin-17
  • Interleukins