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gammadelta T cells play a key role in the regulation of inflammatory responses in epithelial tissue, and in adaptive immunity, as gammadelta T cell deficient mice have a severely impaired capacity to clear lung pathogens. gammadelta T cells regulate the initial inflammatory response to microbial invasion and thereby protect against tissue injury. Here we examined the response of gammadelta T cells to lung injury induced by bleomycin, in an effort to study the inflammatory response in the absence of any adaptive immune response to a pathogen.
After lung injury by bleomycin, we localized the gammadelta T cells to the lung lesions. gammadelta T cells were the predominant source of IL-17 (as detected by flow cytometry and real-time PCR). Moreover, gammadelta T cell knockout mice showed a significant reduction in cellular infiltration into the airways, reduced expression of IL-6 in the lung, and a significant delay in epithelial repair.
Mouse gammadelta T cells produce IL-17 in response to lung injury and are required for an organized inflammatory response and epithelial repair. The lack of gammadelta T cells correlates with increased inflammation and fibrosis.