γδ T cells are associated with inflammation and immunopathogenesis of leprosy reactions.
BACKGROUND: Leprosy reactions appear episodically in leprosy patients, which lead to high inflammation, morbidity and peripheral nerve damage. The role of Th17 cell has been well studied in leprosy reactions but the role of γδ or unconventional T cells which is an other major source of IL-17 in many diseases, not studied in leprosy reactional episodes.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of the present study to elucidate the role of γδ T cells in leprosy reactions.
METHODOLOGY: A total of 40 untreated non-reaction and reactions patients were recruited. PBMCs were isolated and stimulated with M. leprae sonicated antigen (MLSA) for 48 h and immuno-phenotyping was done using flowcytometry. Moreover, γδ T cells were isolated by Magnetic beads technology and mRNA expression of IL-17, IFN-γ, TGF-β and FOXP3 were analyzed by real-time PCR (qPCR) and cytokine was estimated in the culture supernatant by ELISA.
RESULTS: γδ T cells were significantly increased in both Reversal reaction (RR) and Erythema nodosum leprosum (ENL) reaction patients. These cells produced significant amount of IL-17 and IFN-γ. Furthermore, CD3TCRγδ T cells expressed transient FOXP3 with a low amount of TGF-β in both reactions as compared to stable patients. Moreover, low TGF-β producing TCR-γδ cells were associated with low phosphorylation of STAT5A.
CONCLUSIONS: This study will add to our understanding of the immunological features that mediate and regulate the pathogenesis of leprosy and may helpful to reduce the immuno-pathogenesis of leprosy reaction by targeting these cells.