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Neurochem Res. 2010 Jun;35(6):940-6. doi: 10.1007/s11064-009-0091-9. Epub 2009 Nov 14.

Synergy of IL-23 and Th17 cytokines: new light on inflammatory bowel disease.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Immunoregulation, Cancer Inflammation Program, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Frederick, MD, 21702, USA.


Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs), including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, involve an interplay between host genetics and environmental factors including intestinal microbiota. Animal models of IBD have indicated that chronic inflammation can result from over-production of inflammatory responses or deficiencies in key negative regulatory pathways. Recent research advances in both T-helper 1 (Th1) and T-helper 17 (Th17) effect responses have offered new insights on the induction and regulation of mucosal immunity which is linked to the development of IBD. Th17 cytokines, such as IL-17 and IL-22, in combination with IL-23, play crucial roles in intestinal protection and homeostasis. IL-23 is expressed in gut mucosa and tends to orchestrate T-cell-independent pathways of intestinal inflammation as well as T cell dependent pathways mediated by cytokines produced by Th1 and Th17 cells. Th17 cells, generally found to be proinflammatory, have specific functions in host defense against infection by recruiting neutrophils and macrophages to infected tissues. Here we will review emerging data on those cytokines and their related regulatory networks that appear to govern the complex development of chronic intestinal inflammation; we will focus on how IL-23 and Th17 cytokines act coordinately to influence the balance between tolerance and immunity in the intestine.

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