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Blood. 2008 Sep 1;112(5):2101-10. doi: 10.1182/blood-2007-12-126987. Epub 2008 Jul 2.

Absence of donor Th17 leads to augmented Th1 differentiation and exacerbated acute graft-versus-host disease.

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  • 1Graduate School of Biological Science, The Beckman Research Institute, City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, CA 91010, USA.


Th17 is a newly identified T-cell lineage that secretes proinflammatory cytokine IL-17. Th17 cells have been shown to play a critical role in mediating autoimmune diseases such as EAE, colitis, and arthritis, but their role in the pathogenesis of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is still unknown. Here we showed that, in an acute GVHD model of C57BL/6 (H-2(b)) donor to BALB/c (H-2(d)) recipient, IL-17(-/-) donor T cells manifested an augmented Th1 differentiation and IFN-gamma production and induced exacerbated acute GVHD. Severe tissue damage mediated by IL-17(-/-) donor T cells was associated with increased Th1 infiltration, up-regulation of chemokine receptors by donor T cells, and enhanced tissue expression of inflammatory chemokines. Administration of recombinant IL-17 and neutralizing IFN-gamma in the recipients given IL-17(-/-) donor cells ameliorated the acute GVHD. Furthermore, the regulation of Th1 differentiation by IL-17 or Th17 may be through its influence on host DCs. Our results indicate that donor Th17 cells can down-regulate Th1 differentiation and ameliorate acute GVHD in allogeneic recipients, and that treatments neutralizing proinflammatory cytokine IL-17 may augment acute GVHD as well as other inflammatory autoimmune diseases.

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