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Interleukin-21 induces the differentiation of human Tc22 cells via phosphorylation of signal transducers and activators of transcription

By Yun Liu, Binyan Yang, Jiangjun Ma, Hui Wang, Fengyu Huang, Jianping Zhang, Hui Chen and Changyou Wu


Interleukin-21 (IL-21) exerts critical functions in T helper type 17 (Th17) cell development. However, the effect of IL-21 on the differentiation of IL-22-producing T cells is not clear. Here we showed that IL-21 induced the differentiation of human naive CD8+ T cells into Tc22 cells without the expression of IL-17. The addition of transforming growth factor-β inhibited the production of IL-22 but induced the production of IL-17. Both IL-15 and IL-2 induced interferon-γ production but did not induce differentiation of Tc22, which suggests that common γ-chain signals are not specific to promote IL-22 synthesis. The IL-21 induced naive CD8+ T cells to produce IL-22 in greater amounts than memory CD8+ T cells. In addition, we demonstrated that IL-21 promoted the proliferation and increased the expression of IL-21 receptors on activated naive CD8+ T cells. Furthermore, IL-21 increased the expression of granzyme B molecules. Analysis of molecular mechanisms indicated that IL-21 induced phosphorylation of signal transducers and activators of transcription 1, 3 and 5 in CD8+ T cells. Overall, our data indicated that IL-21, an effector cytokine produced by CD4+ T cells, might mediate the cross-talk between CD4+ and CD8+ T cells through the production of IL-22

Topics: Original Articles
Publisher: Blackwell Science Inc
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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