Interleukin-17 (IL-17) has been associated with the pathogenesis of numerous autoimmune diseases. CD4+ T cells secreting IL-17 are termed Th17 cells. CD8+ T cells, designated Tc17 cells, are also capable of secreting IL-17. Here we describe a population of Tc17 cells characterized by the expression of surface CD146, an endothelial adhesion molecule. These cells display signatures of a human Tc17 genotype and phenotype. Circulating CD8+CD146+ T cells are present in low levels in healthy adults. Elevations in CD8+CD146+ T cells are found in Behcet's disease and birdshot retinochoroidopathy, which have been reported to have HLA class I associations. Sarcoidosis does not have a class I association and displays an increase in CD4+ CD146+ T cells but not in CD8+CD146+ T cells. CD146 on these cells may facilitate their ability to bind to, and migrate through, endothelium, as has been reported for CD4+CD146+ T cells.
Keywords: CD146/MCAM; Class I antigen; Inflammation; Tc17.
Published by Elsevier Inc.