H-C Chen, N Eling, CP Martinez-Jimenez, LM O'Brien, V Carbonaro, JC Marioni, DT Odom, M de la Roche
How the age-associated decline of immune function leads to increased cancer incidence is poorly understood. Here, we have characterised the cellular composition of the γδ T-cell pool in peripheral lymph nodes (pLNs) upon ageing. We find that ageing has minimal cell-intrinsic effects on function and global gene expression of γδ T cells, and γδTCR diversity remains stable. However, ageing alters TCRδ chain usage and clonal structure of γδ T-cell subsets. Importantly, IL-17-producing γδ17 T cells dominate the γδ T-cell pool of aged mice-mainly due to the selective expansion of Vγ6+ γδ17 T cells and augmented γδ17 polarisation of Vγ4+ T cells. Expansion of the γδ17 T-cell compartment is mediated by increased IL-7 expression in the T-cell zone of old mice. In a Lewis lung cancer model, pro-tumourigenic Vγ6+ γδ17 T cells are exclusively activated in the tumour-draining LN and their infiltration into the tumour correlates with increased tumour size in aged mice. Thus, upon ageing, substantial compositional changes in γδ T-cell pool in the pLN lead to an unbalanced γδ T-cell response in the tumour that is associated with accelerated tumour growth.