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Gammadelta T-cell receptor(+) T lymphocytes are an important element of the innate immune system. Early production of interferon (IFN)-gamma by gammadelta T cells may have a role in linking innate and adaptive immune responses and contribute to T helper-1 bias. We investigated the role of cytokines in the activation and induction of IFN-gamma secretion by bovine workshop cluster 1(+) (WC1(+)) gammadelta T cells. The effects of culture with interleukin (IL)-12, IL-18, IL-15 and IL-2 were investigated; these cytokines are known to influence murine and human gammadelta T cells. We report that bovine WC1(+)gammadelta T cells are synergistically stimulated by IL-12 and IL-18 to secrete large quantities of IFN-gamma. Neonatal calves were shown to have significantly higher numbers of circulating WC1(+)gammadelta T cells than adult animals. In addition, the response of peripheral blood WC1(+)gammadelta T cells was significantly higher in neonatal calves compared with adult animals. However, in adult animals the response of lymph node WC1(+)gammadelta T cells to IL-12/IL-18 was more pronounced than that of peripheral blood WC1(+)gammadelta T cells. We hypothesize that the induction of IFN-gamma secretion from WC1(+)gammadelta T cells by IL-12 and IL-18 is likely to be an important element of the innate response to pathogens such as Mycobacterium bovis. The high numbers of WC1(+)gammadelta T cells in neonatal calves, and their inherent ability to respond to inflammatory cytokines, could be a key factor in the enhanced responses seen in calves to BCG vaccination.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





57 - 65


Aging, Animals, Animals, Newborn, Cattle, Cell Proliferation, Cells, Cultured, Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic, Interferon-gamma, Interleukin-12, Interleukin-18, Lymph Nodes, Membrane Glycoproteins, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta, Recombinant Proteins, T-Lymphocyte Subsets