IL-21 enhances the potential of human {gamma delta} T cells to provide B-cell help

Raj R Bansal, Charles R Mackay, Bernhard Moser, Matthias Eberl

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    Vgamma9/Vdelta2 T cells are a minor subset of T cells in human blood and differ from all other lymphocytes by their specific responsiveness to (E)-4-hydroxy-3-methyl-but-2-enyl pyrophosphate (HMB-PP), a metabolite produced by a large range of microbial pathogens. Vgamma9/Vdelta2 T cells can be skewed towards distinct effector functions, in analogy to, and beyond, the emerging plasticity of CD4(+) T cells. As such, depending on the microenvironment, Vgamma9/Vdelta2 T cells can assume features reminiscent of Th1, Th2, Th17 and Treg cells as well as professional APCs. We here demonstrate that Vgamma9/Vdelta2 T cells express markers associated with follicular B helper T (T(FH) ) cells when stimulated with HMB-PP in the presence of IL-21. HMB-PP induces upregulation of IL-21R on Vgamma9/Vdelta2 T cells. In return, IL-21 plays a co-stimulatory role in the expression of the B-cell-attracting chemokine CXCL13, the CXCL13 receptor CXCR5 and the inducible co-stimulator by activated Vgamma9/Vdelta2 T cells, and enhances their potential to support antibody production by B cells. The interaction between HMB-PP-responsive Vgamma9/Vdelta2 T cells, IL-21-producing T(FH) cells and B cells in secondary lymphoid tissues is likely to impact on the generation of high affinity, class-switched antibodies in microbial infections.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)110 - 119
    Number of pages10
    JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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