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J Exp Med. 2010 Mar 15;207(3):535-52. doi: 10.1084/jem.20092121. Epub 2010 Feb 22.

Bleomycin and IL-1beta-mediated pulmonary fibrosis is IL-17A dependent.

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Immunopathogenesis Section, Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a destructive inflammatory disease with limited therapeutic options. To better understand the inflammatory responses that precede and concur with collagen deposition, we used three models of pulmonary fibrosis and identify a critical mechanistic role for IL-17A. After exposure to bleomycin (BLM), but not Schistosoma mansoni eggs, IL-17A produced by CD4(+) and gammadelta(+) T cells induced significant neutrophilia and pulmonary fibrosis. Studies conducted with C57BL/6 il17a(-/-) mice confirmed an essential role for IL-17A. Mechanistically, using ifngamma(-/-), il10(-/-), il10(-/-)il12p40(-/-), and il10(-/-)il17a(-/-) mice and TGF-beta blockade, we demonstrate that IL-17A-driven fibrosis is suppressed by IL-10 and facilitated by IFN-gamma and IL-12/23p40. BLM-induced IL-17A production was also TGF-beta dependent, and recombinant IL-17A-mediated fibrosis required TGF-beta, suggesting cooperative roles for IL-17A and TGF-beta in the development of fibrosis. Finally, we show that fibrosis induced by IL-1beta, which mimics BLM-induced fibrosis, is also highly dependent on IL-17A. IL-17A and IL-1beta were also increased in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of patients with IPF. Together, these studies identify a critical role for IL-17A in fibrosis, illustrating the potential utility of targeting IL-17A in the treatment of drug and inflammation-induced fibrosis.

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