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Microbes Infect. 2007 Jan;9(1):78-86. Epub 2006 Dec 15.

IL-23-dependent IL-17 production is essential in neutrophil recruitment and activity in mouse lung defense against respiratory Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection.

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Department of Medicine, National Jewish Medical and Research Center and the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO 80206, USA.


IL-23 induces IL-17 production in activated CD4+ T cells and participates in host defense against many encapsulated bacteria. However, whether the IL-23/IL-17 axis contributes to a Mycoplasma pneumoniae (Mp)-induced lung inflammation (e.g., neutrophils) has not been addressed. Using an acute respiratory Mp infection murine model, we found significantly up-regulated lung IL-23p19 mRNA in the early phase of infection (4h), and alveolar macrophages were an important cell source of Mp-induced IL-23. We further showed that Mp significantly increased IL-17 protein levels in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL). Lung gene expression of IL-17, IL-17C and IL-17F was also markedly up-regulated by Mp in vivo. IL-17 and IL-17F were found to be derived mainly from lung CD4+ T cells, and were increased upon IL-23 stimulation in vitro. In vivo blocking of IL-23p19 alone or in combination with IL-23/IL-12p40 resulted in a significant reduction of Mp-induced IL-17 protein and IL-17/IL-17F mRNA expression, which was accompanied by a trend toward reduced lung neutrophil recruitment, BAL neutrophil activity, and Mp clearance. However, IL-23 neutralization had no effect on Mp-induced lung IL-17C mRNA expression. These results demonstrate that IL-17/IL-17F production is IL-23-dependent in an acute Mp infection, and contributes to neutrophil recruitment and activity in the lung defense against the infection.

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