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Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2013 Jun;9(6):375-9. doi: 10.1038/nrrheum.2012.205. Epub 2012 Dec 11.

The role of IL-17-secreting mast cells in inflammatory joint disease.

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The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute, Level 4, R Wing, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Ipswich Road, Brisbane, QLD 4102, Australia.


The proinflammatory cytokine IL-17 has an important role in pathogenesis of several inflammatory diseases. In immune-mediated joint diseases, IL-17 can induce secretion of other proinflammatory cytokines such as IL-1, IL-6 and TNF, as well as matrix metalloproteinase enzymes, leading to inflammation, cartilage breakdown, osteoclastogenesis and bone erosion. In animal models of inflammatory arthritis, mice deficient in IL-17 are less susceptible to development of disease. The list of IL-17-secreting cells is rapidly growing, and mast cells have been suggested to be a dominant source of IL-17 in inflammatory joint disease. However, many other innate sources of IL-17 have been described in both inflammatory and autoinflammatory conditions, raising questions as to the role of mast cells in orchestrating joint inflammation. This article will critically assess the contribution of mast cells and other cell types to IL-17 production in the inflammatory milieu associated with inflammatory arthritis, understanding of which could facilitate targeted therapeutic approaches.

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