Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2011

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Craig T. Morita


Human γδ T cells expressing the Vγ2Vδ2 T cell antigen receptor play important roles in immune responses to microbial pathogens by monitoring prenyl pyrophosphate isoprenoid metabolites. Most adult Vγ2Vδ2 cells are memory cytotoxic cells that produce interferon-γ (IFN-γ). Recently, murine γδ T cells were found to be major sources of interleukin (IL)-17A in anti-microbial and autoimmune responses. To determine if primate γδ T cells play similar roles, we characterized IL-17A and IL-22 production by Vγ2Vδ2 T cells. IL-17A-producing memory Vγ2Vδ2 T cells exist at low but significant frequencies in adult humans (1:2,762 T cells) and at even higher frequencies in adult rhesus macaques. Higher levels of Vγ2Vδ2 T cells produce IL-22 (1:1,864 T cells) although few produce both IL-17A and IL-22. Unlike adult humans where many IL-17A+ V#947;2Vδ2 T cells also produce IFN-#947; (T#947;δ1/17), the majority of adult macaques IL-17A+ Vδ2 T cells (T#947;δ17) do not produce IFN-#947;. To define the cytokine requirements for T#947;δ17 cells, we stimulated human neonatal V#947;2Vδ2 T cells with the bacterial antigen, (E)-4-hydroxy-3-methyl-but-2-enyl pyrophosphate, and various cytokines and mAbs in vitro. We find that IL-6, IL-1β, and transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) are required to generate T#947;δ17 cells in neonates whereas T#947;δ1/17 cells additionally required IL-23. In adults, memory T#947;δ1/17 and T#947;δ17 cells required IL-23, IL-1β, and TGF-β but not IL-6. IL-22-producing cells showed similar requirements. Both neonatal and adult IL-17A+ V#947;2Vδ2 T cells expressed elevated levels of retinoid-related orphan receptor-#947;t. Our data suggest that, like Th17 αβ T cells, V#947;2Vδ2 T cells can be polarized into T#947;δ17 and T#947;δ1/17 populations with distinct cytokine requirements for their initial polarization and later maintenance.


Cell Differentiation, Humans, Interleukin-17A, Interleukin-22, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta, T-Lymphocyte Subsets


x, 119 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 92-119).


Copyright 2011 Kristin Jennifer Ness-Schwickerath