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J Exp Med. 2006 Oct 2;203(10):2271-9. Epub 2006 Sep 18.

Interleukin (IL)-22 and IL-17 are coexpressed by Th17 cells and cooperatively enhance expression of antimicrobial peptides.

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  • 1Wyeth Research, Cambridge, MA 02140, USA.


Th17 cells are a distinct lineage of effector CD4(+) T cells characterized by their production of interleukin (IL)-17. We demonstrate that Th17 cells also expressed IL-22, an IL-10 family member, at substantially higher amounts than T helper (Th)1 or Th2 cells. Similar to IL-17A, IL-22 expression was initiated by transforming growth factor beta signaling in the context of IL-6 and other proinflammatory cytokines. The subsequent expansion of IL-22-producing cells was dependent on IL-23. We further demonstrate that IL-22 was coexpressed in vitro and in vivo with both IL-17A and IL-17F. To study a functional relationship among these cytokines, we examined the expression of antimicrobial peptides by primary keratinocytes treated with combinations of IL-22, IL-17A, and IL-17F. IL-22 in conjunction with IL-17A or IL-17F synergistically induced the expression of beta-defensin 2 and S100A9 and additively enhanced the expression of S100A7 and S100A8. Collectively, we have identified IL-22 as a new cytokine expressed by Th17 cells that synergizes with IL-17A or IL-17F to regulate genes associated with skin innate immunity.

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