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Mucosal Immunol. 2010 Jul;3(4):361-73. doi: 10.1038/mi.2010.22. Epub 2010 May 5.

IL-22 defines a novel immune pathway of antifungal resistance.

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Department of Experimental Medicine and Biochemical Sciences, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy.


The role of IL-17 and Th17 cells in immunity vs. pathology associated with the human commensal Candida albicans remains controversial. Both positive and negative effects on immune resistance have been attributed to IL-17/Th17 in experimental candidiasis. In this study, we provide evidence that IL-22, which is also produced by Th17 cells, has a critical, first-line defense in candidiasis by controlling the growth of infecting yeasts as well as by contributing to the host's epithelial integrity in the absence of acquired Th1-type immunity. The two pathways are reciprocally regulated, and IL-22 is upregulated under Th1 deficiency conditions and vice versa. Whereas both IL-17A and F are dispensable for antifungal resistance, IL-22 mediates protection in IL-17RA-deficient mice, in which IL-17A contributes to disease susceptibility. Thus, our findings suggest that protective immunity to candidiasis is made up of a staged response involving an early, IL-22-dominated response followed by Th1/Treg reactivity that will prevent fungal dissemination and supply memory.

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