Role of γδ T Cells in Liver Disease

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In the field of immunology, the liver acts as a sentinel, protecting our body from an array of toxins and pathogens that attempt to breach its protective barrier. The enigmatic γδ T cells become key players in this defense mechanism.

Creative Biolabs delves into the fascinating world of γδ T cells and their multifaceted role in liver disease, revealing what could be a key pathway to innovative therapy development.

γδ T Cells in the Liver

Different subtypes of γδ T cells are generated in the thymus and migrate to the periphery. γδ T cells are enriched in the liver and exhibit liver-specific features. The role of γδ T cells in the hepatic ecosystem goes far beyond a purely supportive role. These cells are essential for the maintenance of hepatic homeostasis and actively participate in processes such as tissue repair, regeneration and immune tolerance.

IL-17+ γδ T cells in the liver are a functional subpopulation that has been found to have pro-inflammatory effects or anti-infective capacity.

γδ T cell subsets in liver diseases. Fig. 1 γδ T cell subsets in liver diseases. (Xi C, et al., 2019)

Exploring the Role of γδ T Cells in Liver Diseases

The liver is a vital organ with multifaceted functions. Liver diseases, including a spectrum of diseases ranging from viral hepatitis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), autoimmune hepatitis, liver fibrosis to cancer, pose a major challenge to global health. Within this complexity, the involvement of γδ T cells has begun to take center stage.

Viral hepatitis, caused by the hepatitis B and C viruses, triggers chronic inflammation that eventually leads to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Here, γδ T cells wield a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they promote viral clearance through cytokine secretion and cytotoxicity. On the other hand, their dysregulated activation exacerbates liver injury and creates a pro-inflammatory environment.

  • γδ T Cells in NAFLD

Emerging evidence suggests that γδ T cells are involved in the orchestration of the inflammation observed in NAFLD. These cells respond to lipid antigens, promote recruitment of inflammatory immune cells and perpetuate liver inflammation. Exploring the intersection of γδ T cells and metabolic dysfunction is expected to reveal new strategies to combat NAFLD progression.

  • γδ T Cells in Liver Fibrosis and Cirrhosis

γδ T cells are integral players in this process, influencing the fate of hepatic stellate cells—the key orchestrators of fibrosis. By producing factors that regulate collagen deposition and immune cell recruitment, γδ T cells actively sculpt the fibrotic microenvironment. Targeting these interactions might offer novel therapeutic avenues to prevent or reverse liver fibrosis.

Potential Therapeutic Avenues

Researchers are increasingly focused on modulating γδ T cell responses to tip the scales in favor of beneficial outcomes. Strategies involve

These are being explored to harness these cells' potential for precision medicine.

As research continues to reveal the nuances of γδ T cell interactions, new avenues for therapy may emerge. Creative Biolabs is pioneering innovative solutions in biotechnology, including research targeting γδ T cells within the liver, to advance your therapy development.


  1. Xi C, et al. New Aspect of Liver IL-17+ γδ T Cells. Molecular immunology, 2019, 107: 41-43.
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