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Cytokine. 2008 Feb;41(2):79-83. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2007.11.022. Epub 2008 Jan 22.

IL-23 and IL-17 in tuberculosis.

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Trudeau Institute, Inc., 154 Algonquin Ave., Saranac Lake, NY 12983, USA.


Tuberculosis is a chronic disease requiring the constant expression of cellular immunity to limit bacterial growth. The constant expression of immunity also results in chronic inflammation, which requires regulation. While IFN-gamma-producing CD4+ T helper cells (Th1) are required for control of bacterial growth they also initiate and maintain a mononuclear inflammatory response. Other T cell subsets are induced by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection including those able to produce IL-17 (Th17). IL-17 is a potent inflammatory cytokine capable of inducing chemokine expression and recruitment of cells to parenchymal tissue. Both the IL-17 and the Th17 response to Mtb are largely dependent upon IL-23. Although both Th17 and Th1 cells are induced following primary infection with Mtb, the protective response is significantly altered in the absence of Th1 cells but not in the absence of Th17. In contrast, in vaccinated animals the absence of memory Th17 cells results in loss of both the accelerated memory Th1 response and protection. Th1 and Th17 responses cross-regulate each other during mycobacterial infection and this may be important for immunopathologic consequences not only in tuberculosis but also other mycobacterial infections.

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