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J Immunol. 2008 Feb 15;180(4):2486-95.

IL-23 is required for the development of severe egg-induced immunopathology in schistosomiasis and for lesional expression of IL-17.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, Tufts University, 150 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA 02111, USA.


In infection with the trematode helminth Schistosoma mansoni, the severity of CD4 T cell-mediated hepatic granulomatous and fibrosing inflammation against parasite eggs varies considerably in humans and among mouse strains. In mice, either the natural high pathology, or high pathology induced by concomitant immunization with schistosome egg Ags (SEA) in CFA (SEA/CFA), results from a failure to contain a net proinflammatory cytokine environment. We previously demonstrated that the induction of severe immunopathology was dependent on the IL-12/IL-23 common p40 subunit, and correlated with an increase in IL-17, thus implying IL-23 in the pathogenesis. We now show that mice lacking the IL-23-specific subunit p19 are impaired in developing severe immunopathology following immunization with SEA/CFA, which is associated with a marked drop of IL-17 in the granulomas, but not in the draining mesenteric lymph nodes, and with a markedly suppressed SEA-specific IFN-gamma response regulated by a striking increase in IL-10. The granulomas are characterized by a significant reduction in Gr-1(+) cell recruitment and by alternative macrophage activation. Taken together, these results demonstrate that IL-23 per se is not necessary for the generation of IL-17-producing T cells, but is essential for the development of severe schistosome egg-induced immunopathology, and its absence cannot be overcome with other possible compensatory mechanisms.

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