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Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2007 Aug;293(2):L505-15. Epub 2007 Jun 1.

Interleukin-17A modulates human airway epithelial responses to human rhinovirus infection.

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Airway Inflammation Group, Institute for Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


Human rhinovirus (HRV) infections are associated with exacerbations of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that are characterized by a selective neutrophil infiltration. IL-17A, a cytokine derived primarily from activated T cells, has been linked to neutrophilic inflammation of the airways. We hypothesized that IL-17A alters the response of HRV-infected epithelial cells to modulate airway inflammatory cell populations. IL-17A synergistically enhanced HRV-16-induced epithelial production of the neutrophil chemoattractant, IL-8, as well as human beta-defensin-2 (HBD-2), a chemoattractant for immature dendritic cells and memory T cells, but suppressed viral production of the eosinophil chemoattractant, RANTES. These effects were not due to alterations of viral uptake or replication by IL-17A. The synergy between HRV-16 and IL-17A for IL-8 protein production was both dose- and time-dependent. IL-8 induction by IL-17A or HRV-16, alone and in combination, was reduced by inhibitors of the p38 and p44/42 MAPK pathways. By contrast, induction of HBD-2 depended on the activation of the p38 and JNK pathways. The ability of IL-17A to synergistically enhance HRV-induced IL-8 is mediated posttranscriptionally, since IL-8 promoter activation by the combination of the two stimuli was merely additive, whereas the combination of IL-17A and HRV-16 led to stabilization of IL-8 mRNA. Similarly, stimulation of HBD-2 promoter constructs by the combination of IL-17A and HRV-16 was no more than the sum of the individual responses. Further studies are needed to examine HBD-2 mRNA stability. Taken together, these data represent the first demonstration that IL-17A can modify epithelial responses to HRV in a manner that would be expected to favor the recruitment of neutrophils, immature dendritic cells, and memory T cells to the airways.

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