Immunology: Helping the helpers

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    Immunity doi:10.1016/j.immuni.2009.08.001 (2009)

    In the immune system, 'helper' T cells secrete signalling molecules called cytokines to activate other immune cells. A subset of helper cells, CD4+ Th17 cells, can trigger autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis when they release the proinflammatory cytokine IL-17.

    Kingston Mills and his colleagues at Trinity College in Dublin have now implicated another type of T cell, the γδ T cell, in autoimmunity. The group showed that γδ T cells are an innate source of IL-17 and other signalling molecules, which they produce when activated by particular cytokines in vitro and in live mice.

    The authors found IL-17-secreting γδ T cells in the brains of mice with an autoimmune disease — and that transplanting these alongside CD4+ cells conferred disease on other mice. In vitro, activated γδ T cells amplified the production of IL-17 by CD4+ Th17 cells.

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    Immunology: Helping the helpers. Nature 460, 935 (2009) doi:10.1038/460935c

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