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Blood. 2010 Nov 18;116(20):4175-84. doi: 10.1182/blood-2010-01-266098. Epub 2010 Aug 23.

Th17 immune responses contribute to the pathophysiology of aplastic anemia.

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Hematology Branch, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.


T helper type 17 (Th17) cells have been characterized based on production of interleukin-17 (IL-17) and association with autoimmune diseases. We studied the role of Th17 cells in aplastic anemia (AA) by isolating Th17 cells from patients blood (n = 41) and bone marrow (BM) mononuclear cells (n = 7). The frequency and total number of CD3(+)CD4(+)IL-17-producing T cells were increased in AA patients at presentation compared with healthy controls (P = .0007 and .02, respectively) and correlated with disease activity. There was an inverse relationship between the numbers of Th17 cells and CD4(+)CD25(high)FoxP3(+) regulatory T cells (Tregs) in the blood of AA patients. Concomitant with the classical Th1 response, we detected the presence of CD4(+) and CD8(+) IL-17-producing T cells in a mouse model of lymph node infusion-induced BM failure. Although anti-IL-17 treatment did not abrogate BM failure, early treatment with the anti-IL-17 antibody reduced the severity of BM failure with significantly higher platelet (P < .01) and total BM cell (P < .05) counts at day 10. Recipients that received anti-IL-17 treatment had significantly fewer Th1 cells (P < .01) and more Treg cells (P < .05) at day 10 after lymph node infusion. Th17 immune responses contribute to AA pathophysiology, especially at the early stage during disease progression.

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