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Am J Pathol. 2012 Apr;180(4):1547-59. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2011.12.038. Epub 2012 Feb 16.

IL-23 dampens the allergic response to Cryptococcus neoformans through IL-17-independent and -dependent mechanisms.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York 10461, USA.


The cytokines IL-23 and IL-17 have been implicated in resistance to cryptococcal disease, but it is not clear whether IL-23-mediated production of IL-17 promotes fungal containment following pulmonary challenge with Cryptococcus neoformans. We used mice lacking IL-23 (IL-23p19(-/-)) or IL-17RA (IL-17RA(-/-)), and wild type (WT) C57BL/6 mice to examine the IL-23/IL-17 axis after intranasal infection with the C. neoformans strain 52D. The absence of IL-23 or IL-17RA had no effect on pulmonary or brain fungal burden at 1 or 6 weeks after infection. However, survival of IL-23p19(-/-) mice was reduced compared to IL-17RA(-/-) mice. IL-I7 production by CD4 T cells and natural killer T (NKT) cells was impaired in IL-23p19(-/-) lungs, but was not completely abolished. Both IL-23p19(-/-) and IL-17RA(-/-) mice exhibited impaired neutrophil recruitment, increased serum levels of IgE and IgG2b, and increased deposition of YM1/YM2 crystals in the lung, but only IL-23p19(-/-) mice developed persistent lung eosinophilia. Although survival of IL-17RA(-/-) and WT mice was similar after 17 weeks of infection, only surviving IL-17RA(-/-) mice exhibited cryptococcal dissemination to the blood. These data demonstrate that IL-23 dampens the allergic response to cryptococcal infection through IL-17-independent suppression of eosinophil recruitment and IL-17-dependent regulation of antibody production and crystal deposition. Furthermore, IL-23, and to a lesser extent IL-17, contribute to disease resistance.

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