Lighting Up Immunity

Science Signaling  12 Nov 2013:
Vol. 6, Issue 301, pp. ec278
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2004895

TH17 cells are CD4+ T helper cells that produce the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-17. In the intestines, TH17 cells protect the host from fungal and bacterial infections, and their proinflammatory function is linked with autoimmune diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease. Yu et al. show that the molecular circadian clock directly regulates the differentiation of TH17 cells in the intestine, which suggests that both nutrition and light are important environmental factors that directly regulate the immune response.

X. Yu, D. Rollins, K. A. Ruhn, J. J. Stubblefield, C. B. Green, M. Kashiwada, P. B. Rothman, J. S. Takahashi, L. V. Hooper, TH17 cell differentiation is regulated by the circadian clock. Science 342, 727–730 (2013). [Abstract] [Full Text]