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J Immunol. 2010 Jun 1;184(11):6367-77. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.0900459. Epub 2010 Apr 26.

IL-17A-producing gammadelta T and Th17 lymphocytes mediate lung inflammation but not fibrosis in experimental silicosis.

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Louvain Centre for Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, de Duve Institute, Université catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.


IL-17-producing T lymphocytes play a crucial role in inflammation, but their possible implication in fibrosis remains to be explored. In this study, we examined the involvement of these cells in a mouse model of lung inflammation and fibrosis induced by silica particles. Upregulation of IL-17A was associated with the development of experimental silicosis, but this response was markedly reduced in athymic, gammadelta T cell-deficient or CD4(+) T cell-depleted mice. In addition, gammadelta T lymphocytes and CD4(+) T cells, but not macrophages, neutrophils, NK cells or CD8 T cells, purified from the lungs of silicotic mice markedly expressed IL-17A. Depletion of alveolar macrophages or neutralization of IL-23 reduced upregulation of IL-17A in the lung of silicotic mice. IL-17R-deficient animals (IL-17R(-/-)) or IL-17A Ab neutralization, but not IL-22(-/-) mice, developed reduced neutrophil influx and injury during the early lung response to silica. However, chronic inflammation, fibrosis, and TGF-beta expression induced by silica were not attenuated in the absence of IL-17R or -22 or after IL-17A Ab blockade. In conclusion, a rapid lung recruitment of IL-17A-producing T cells, mediated by macrophage-derived IL-23, is associated with experimental silicosis in mice. Although the acute alveolitis induced by silica is IL-17A dependent, this cytokine appears dispensable for the development of the late inflammatory and fibrotic lung responses to silica.

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