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J Immunol. 2011 Nov 15;187(10):5328-35. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1101445. Epub 2011 Oct 14.

The pathogenic Th17 cell response to major schistosome egg antigen is sequentially dependent on IL-23 and IL-1β.

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Department of Pathology, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02111, USA.


CBA/J mice infected with the helminth Schistosoma mansoni develop severe CD4 T cell-mediated hepatic granulomatous inflammation against parasite eggs associated with a robust Th17 cell response. We investigated the requisites for Th17 cell development using novel CD4 T cells expressing a transgenic TCR specific for the major Sm-p40 egg Ag, which produce IL-17 when stimulated with live schistosome eggs. Neutralization of IL-23 or blockade of the IL-1 receptor, but not IL-6 neutralization, abrogated egg-induced IL-17 secretion by transgenic T cells, whereas exogenous IL-23 or IL-1β reconstituted their ability to produce IL-17 when stimulated by syngeneic IL-12p40-deficient dendritic cells. Kinetic analysis demonstrated that IL-17 production was initiated by IL-23 and amplified by IL-1β. Significantly, schistosome-infected IL-12p40-deficient or IL-1R antagonist-treated CBA/J mice developed markedly reduced hepatic immunopathology with a dampened egg Ag-specific IL-17 response. These results demonstrate that the IL-23-IL-1-IL-17 axis has a central role in the development of severe schistosome egg-induced immunopathology.

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