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Front Immunol. 2017 Oct 30;8:1437. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2017.01437. eCollection 2017.

The Equivocal Role of Th17 Cells and Neutrophils on Immunopathogenesis of Leishmaniasis.

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Department of Microbiology, Aggeu Magalhães Research Center, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil.


Advances in the understanding of leishmaniasis progression indicate that cellular interactions more complex than the Th1/Th2 paradigm define the course of infection. Th17 cells are a crucial modulator of adaptive immunity against Leishmania parasites acting mainly on neutrophil recruitment and playing a dual role at the site of infection. This review describes the roles of both these cell types in linking innate defense responses to the establishment of specific immunity. We focus on the Th17-neutrophil interaction as a crucial component of anti-Leishmania immunity, and the clinical evolution of cutaneous or visceral leishmaniasis. To date, information obtained through experimental models and patient evaluations suggests that the influence of the presence of interleukin (IL)-17 (the main cytokine produced by Th17 cells) and neutrophils during Leishmania infections is strictly dependent on the tissue (skin or liver/spleen) and parasite species. Also, the time at which neutrophils are recruited, and the persistence of IL-17 in the infection microenvironment, may also be significant. A clearer understanding of these interactions will enable better measurement of the influence of IL-17 and its regulators, and contribute to the identification of disease/resistance biomarkers.


T helper 17; cutaneous leishmaniasis; immunity; immunopathogenesis; interleukin-17; neutrophil; visceral leishmaniasis

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