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Eur J Immunol. 2008 Feb;38(2):470-8. doi: 10.1002/eji.200737635.

IL-23-mediated regulation of IL-17 production in Helicobacter pylori-infected gastric mucosa.

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Department of Internal Medicine and Centre of Excellence for Genomic Risk Assessment in Multifactorial and Complex Diseases, University Tor Vergata of Rome, Rome, Italy.


Helicobacter pylori (Hp) infection is associated with a marked infiltration of the gastric mucosa by inflammatory cells. The molecular pathways that control Hp-associated inflammatory reaction are complex, but locally induced cytokines seem to contribute to maintaining the ongoing inflammation. We have previously shown that IL-17 is over-produced in Hp-infected gastric mucosa, and that IL-17 stimulates the synthesis of IL-8, the major neutrophil chemoattractant. Factors/mechanisms that regulate IL-17 expression remain, however, unknown. In this study, we initially expanded our previous data, showing that CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells are a source of IL-17 in Hp-infected samples. Since IL-23 enhances T cell-derived IL-17 during bacterial infections, we then assessed the role of IL-23 in controlling IL-17 expression in Hp-colonized stomach. Using real-time PCR and ELISA, IL-23 was detected in all gastric biopsies, but its expression was more pronounced in Hp-infected samples in comparison to controls. Treatment of normal gastric lamina propria mononuclear cells (LPMC) with IL-23 enhanced Stat3 activation and IL-17 secretion, and pharmacological inhibition of Stat3 prevented IL-23-driven IL-17 synthesis. Consistently, blockade of IL-23 in cultures of LPMC from Hp-infected patients reduced Stat3 activation and IL-17 production. Data show that IL-23 is overexpressed in Hp-infected gastric mucosa where it could contribute to sustaining IL-17 production.

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