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The Journal of experimental medicine

Human interleukin 17-producing cells originate from a CD161+CD4+ T cell precursor.


PMID 18663128

Abstract

We demonstrate that CD161 is a highly up-regulated gene in human interleukin (IL) 17 T helper cell (Th17) clones and that all IL-17-producing cells are contained in the CD161(+) fraction of CD4(+) T cells present in the circulation or in inflamed tissues, although they are not CD1-restricted natural killer T cells. More importantly, we show that all IL-17-producing cells originate from CD161(+) naive CD4(+) T cells of umbilical cord blood, as well as of the postnatal thymus, in response to the combined activity of IL-1 beta and IL-23. These findings implicate CD161 as a novel surface marker for human Th17 cells and demonstrate the exclusive origin of these cells from a CD161(+)CD4(+) T cell progenitor.