γδ T cells are the major initial interleukin (IL)-17 producers in acute infections. Recent studies have indicated that some γδ T cells have IL-17-producing capabilities without explicit induction of an immune response. They are preferentially localized in barrier tissues and are likely to originate from fetal γδ thymocytes. In addition, γδ T cells present in the secondary lymphoid organs will mature and differentiate to produce IL-17 after antigen encounter in an immune response. Based on these studies, we propose that there are two different sets of IL-17-producing γδ T cells (Tγδ17) referred to as the 'natural' and the 'inducible' Tγδ17 cells. This review focuses on recent publications leading to the delineation of these two types of cells and their implied roles in host immune defense.
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