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J Immunol. 2008 Aug 15;181(4):2414-9.

Colonization with Heligmosomoides polygyrus suppresses mucosal IL-17 production.

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  • 1Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Iowa City, IA 52246, USA.


Helminth exposure appears to protect hosts from inappropriate inflammatory responses, such as those causing inflammatory bowel disease. A recently identified, strongly proinflammatory limb of the immune response is characterized by T cell IL-17 production. Many autoimmune type inflammatory diseases are associated with IL-17 release. Because helminths protect from these diseases, we examined IL-17 production in helminth-colonized mice. We colonized mice with Heligmosomoides polygyrus, an intestinal helminth, and analyzed IL-17 production by lamina propria mononuclear cells (LPMC) and mesenteric lymph node (MLN) cells. Colonization with H. polygyrus reduces IL-17A mRNA by MLN cells and inhibits IL-17 production by cultured LPMC and MLN cells. Helminth exposure augments IL-4 and IL-10 production. Blocking both IL-4 and IL-10, but not IL-10 alone, restores IL-17 production in vitro. Colonization of colitic IL-10-deficient mice with H. polygyrus suppresses LPMC IL-17 production and improves colitis. Ab-mediated blockade of IL-17 improves colitis in IL-10-deficient mice. Thus, helminth-associated inhibition of IL-17 production is most likely an important mechanism mediating protection from inappropriate intestinal inflammation.

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