IL-23 responsive innate-like T cells in spondyloarthritis: the less frequent they are, the more vital they appear

Curr Rheumatol Rep. 2015 May;17(5):30. doi: 10.1007/s11926-015-0507-2.


A key role for the IL-23/IL-17 immune axis in spondyloarthritis (SpA) is supported by cumulative evidence from genetic and translational studies and was recently confirmed in clinical trials. Although initially linked to T helper 17 cells, it is now clear that additional unconventional T cell subpopulations respond towards IL-23, including RORγt(+) CD3(+)CD4(-)CD8(-) T cells, TCRγδ17 cells, KIR3DL2(+)CD4(+) T cells and iNKT17 cells. Although these innate-like T cells are present only at low frequencies and often with a specific tissue distribution, it is proposed that they could play a vital function in the development or progression of SpA-related pathology. In this review, we highlight the emerging knowledge on these specialized IL-23 responsive T cells with regard to their relevance in SpA. Finally, we will discuss these findings in light of novel drugs targeting the IL-23/IL-17 axis, currently being tested in SpA patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Interleukin-17 / immunology
  • Interleukin-23 / immunology*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Spondylarthritis / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*


  • Interleukin-17
  • Interleukin-23