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Virology. 2002 Jul 20;299(1):56-63.

Interleukin 17 modulates the immune response to vaccinia virus infection.

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  • 1Laboratory of Clinical Investigation, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Interleukin 17 (IL-17) is a newly identified cytokine that has a homolog in herpesvirus saimiri. We inserted murine IL-17 into vaccinia virus to study the role of IL-17 in viral infection. Vaccinia virus expressing IL-17 (vv-IL17) and its parental control virus (vv-pRB) grew to similar titers in vitro; however, vv-IL17 was more virulent in mice with a threefold lower LD(50) than for vv-pRB, and mean time to death of 2.8 days versus 4.5 days. Mice infected with vv-IL17 had higher titers of virus in the ovaries (P < 0.02) and showed a decrease in NK cell cytotoxicity (P < 0.02) on day 3 after infection. No significant difference was found in CTL activity. In addition, a significant decrease in IgG2a (P < 0.01) and increases in IgG1, IgG3, and IgA (P < 0.03) vaccinia virus-specific antibody titers were observed in mice infected with vv-IL17 versus vv-pRB, suggesting a Th-2-like response to infection. These data indicate that IL-17 modulates the immune response during virus infection.

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