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Immunol Lett. 2008 Jun 15;118(1):72-81. doi: 10.1016/j.imlet.2008.03.004. Epub 2008 Apr 9.

Memory Th-17 cells specific for C. albicans are persistent in human peripheral blood.

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Department of Immunology, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China.


Th-17 cells, a new subset of effector CD4(+) T cells, have been identified in mice and in humans. In the present study, we show that a high level of IL-17 and a high frequency of IL-17-producing cells were detected by ELISA and ELISPOT assay, respectively, when human PBMCs were stimulated with both anti-CD3 and anti-CD28. Further analysis of IL-17-producing cells by flow cytometry showed that CD4(+) T cells were the main contributor to IL-17 production, and IL-17 production could be directly induced by purified CD4(+) T cells at the protein and transcriptional levels. Phenotypic analyses revealed that the majority of IL-17-producing CD4(+) T cells were memory cells with the expression of CD45RO, CD69, CCR6 and CCR4, and approximately 70% of IL-17-producing CD4(+) T cells expressed CCR7. In addition, Th-17 cells were different from Th1, Th2 and Treg cells, because the expression of IL-17, IFN-gamma, IL-4 or Foxp3 was restricted to distinct CD4(+) T subsets. Importantly, stimulation of PBMCs with heated-inactivated Candida albicans (C. albicans) yeast or hyphae induced IL-17 production at the protein and transcriptional levels. These data suggest that memory Th-17 cells are present in healthy individual PBMCs and some memory Th-17 cells might play an important role in the defense against the infections of fungi such as C. albicans.

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