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Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2007 Feb;292(2):L519-28. Epub 2006 Oct 27.

IL-23 mediates inflammatory responses to mucoid Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infection in mice.

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Division of Pediatric Pulmonology, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


Patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) develop chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infection with mucoid strains of P. aeruginosa; these infections cause significant morbidity. The immunological response in these infections is characterized by an influx of neutrophils to the lung and subsequent lung damage over time; however, the underlying mediators to this response are not well understood. We recently reported that IL-23 and IL-17 were elevated in the sputum of patients with CF who were actively infected with P. aeruginosa; however, the importance of IL-23 and IL-17 in mediating this inflammation was unclear. To understand the role that IL-23 plays in initiating airway inflammation in response to P. aeruginosa, IL-23p19(-/-) (IL-23 deficient) and wild-type (WT) mice were challenged with agarose beads containing a clinical, mucoid isolate of P. aeruginosa. Levels of proinflammatory cytokines, chemokines, bacterial dissemination, and inflammatory infiltrates were measured. IL-23-deficient mice had significantly lower induction of IL-17, keratinocyte-derived chemokine (KC), and IL-6, decreased bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) neutrophils, metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), and reduced airway inflammation than WT mice. Despite the reduced level of inflammation in IL-23p19(-/-) mice, there were no differences in the induction of TNF and interferon-gamma or in bacterial dissemination between the two groups. This study demonstrates that IL-23 plays a critical role in generating airway inflammation observed in mucoid P. aeruginosa infection and suggests that IL-23 could be a potential target for immunotherapy to treat airway inflammation in CF.

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