Functions of IL-17-Producing γδ T Cells

Kensuke Shibata*, Yasunobu Yoshikai*
Division of Host Defense, Medical Institute of Bioregulation, Kyushu University, Japan.

© 2009 Shibata and Yoshikai;

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Division of Host Defense, Medical Institute of Bioregulation, Kyushu University, Japan; Tel: 81-92-642-6962; Fax: 81-92-642-6973; E-mails:,


IL-17 producers in γδ T cell subsets have been recently identified to play protective roles against bacterial infection by inducing neutrophil infiltrations, organizing granulomas and acquired immunity. During ontogeny, γδ T cells develop, maturate and localize at different tissues depending on Vγ repertoires. Vγ1+, Vγ4+ and Vγ6+ cells are reportedly able to produce IL-17. Vγ6+ cells, which develop in the thymus at a very early stage of ontogeny, migrate into the uterus and reproductive organs, whereas Vγ1+ and Vγ4+ cells, which develop at a later stage in the fetal thymus, migrate into the spleen, lung and liver. Vγ6+ cells functionally differentiate into IL-17 producers within the thymus and can consequently rapidly exert an ability to produce IL-17 in response to various stimuli. Thus, by finding IL-17-producing γδ T cells will open a new paradigm to reveal the unique ontogeny and novel molecular mechanisms of γδ T cells.