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Burn Wound γδ T-Cells Support a Th2 and Th17 Immune Response

Rani, Meenakshi PhD*; Zhang, Qiong MS*; Schwacha, Martin G. PhD*†

doi: 10.1097/
2013 Lonza Award

Major burn triggers immune dysfunction, which is associated with wound healing complications. Gamma-δ T-cells have been shown to be important in postburn inflammation and wound healing; however, their cytokine phenotype at the burn wound site is unknown. C57BL/6 male mice were subjected to a major burn (25% TBSA, third degree) or sham treatment. At 3 hours, 3 days, and 7 days thereafter, skin samples were collected and subjected to dispase and trypsin digestion to isolate single cells. The cells were phenotyped and evaluated for cytokine profiles by flow cytometry. Th1 cells were defined as interferon (IFN)γ positive, Th2 cells were defined as interleukin (IL)-10 positive, and Th17 cells were defined as IL-17 positive. At 7 days after burn a shift toward Th2 and Th17 positive T-cells at the wound site was observed. Further analysis revealed that at 3-hour postinjury the percentage of γδ T-cells positive for IFNγ, IL-10, and IL-17 were comparable between sham and burn skin samples. At 3 days and 7 days postinjury the percentage of cells positive for each cytokine increased; however, the increase was significantly greater for IL-10 and IL-17, as compared with IFNγ (ie, 9–20-fold vs 3-fold). Skin αβ T-cells preferentially produced IFNγ (~20%), which was unaffected by burn injury. These data demonstrate that burn wound γδ T-cells are activated for enhanced cytokine production and display a shift toward a Th2 and/or Th17 phenotype. In contrast, burn wound αβ T-cells were not activated for enhanced cytokine production.

From the *Department of Surgery, The University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio; and US Army Institute of Surgical Research, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

Address correspondence to Martin G. Schwacha, PhD, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA), Department of Surgery Mail Code 7740 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, Texas 78229.

© 2014 The American Burn Association