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J Immunol. 2008 Jul 1;181(1):329-37.

Development of proteoglycan-induced arthritis is independent of IL-17.

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Department of Immunology/Microbiology, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.


IL-17 is the hallmark cytokine for the newly identified subset of Th cells, Th17. Th17 cells are important instigators of inflammation in several models of autoimmune disease; in particular, collagen induced arthritis (CIA) and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), which were previously characterized as Th1-mediated diseases. Although high levels of IFN-gamma are secreted in CIA and EAE, disease is exacerbated in IFN-gamma- or IFN-gamma receptor-deficient mice due to the ability of IFN-gamma to suppress IL-17 secretion. However, in proteoglycan-induced arthritis (PGIA), severe arthritis is dependent on the production of IFN-gamma. We were therefore interested in determining the role of IL-17 in PGIA. We assessed the progression of arthritis in IL-17-deficient (IL-17-/-) mice and found the onset and severity of arthritis were equivalent in wild-type (WT) and IL-17-/- mice. Despite evidence that IL-17 is involved in neutrophil recruitment, synovial fluid from arthritic joints showed a comparable proportion of Gr1+ neutrophils in WT and IL-17-/- mice. IL-17 is also implicated in bone destruction in autoimmune arthritis, however, histological analysis of the arthritic joints from WT and IL-17-/- mice revealed a similar extent of joint cellularity, cartilage destruction, and bone erosion despite significantly reduced RANKL (receptor activator of NK-kappaB ligand) expression. There were only subtle differences between WT and IL-17-/- mice in proinflammatory cytokine expression, T cell proliferation, and autoantibody production. These data demonstrate that IL-17 is not absolutely required for autoimmune arthritis and that the production of other proinflammatory mediators is sufficient to compensate for the loss of IL-17 in PGIA.

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