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γδ T Cells Activated in Different Inflammatory Environments Are Functionally Distinct.


γδ T cells are important immunoregulatory cells in experimental autoimmune uveitis (EAU), and the activation status of γδ T cells determines their disease-enhancing or inhibitory effects. Because γδ T cells can be activated via various pathways, we questioned whether the nature of their activation might impact their function. In this study, we show that γδ T cells activated under different inflammatory conditions differ greatly in their functions. Whereas anti-CD3 treatment activated both IFN-γ+ and IL-17+ γδ T cells, cytokines preferentially activated IL-17+ γδ T cells. γδ T cells continued to express high levels of surface CD73 after exposure to inflammatory cytokines, but they downregulated surface CD73 after exposure to dendritic cells. Although both CD73high and CD73low cells have a disease-enhancing effect, the CD73low γδ T cells are less inhibitory. We also show that polarized activation not only applies to αβ T cells and myeloid cells, but also to γδ T cells. After activation under Th17-polarizing conditions, γδ T cells predominantly expressed IL-17 (gdT17), but after activation under Th1 polarizing conditions (gdT1) they mainly expressed IFN-γ. The pro-Th17 activity of γδ T cells was associated with gdT17, but not gdT1. Our results demonstrate that the functional activity of γδ T cells is strikingly modulated by their activation level, as well as the pathway through which they were activated.

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