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J Invest Dermatol. 1998 Oct;111(4):645-9.

Interleukin-17 and interferon-gamma synergize in the enhancement of proinflammatory cytokine production by human keratinocytes.

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Department of Dermatology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Keratinocytes are influenced by cytokines released by skin-infiltrating T lymphocytes. IL-17 is produced by activated CD4+ T cells and can stimulate epithelial cells. We investigated whether IL-17 could modulate the cytokine production and cell-surface molecule expression of keratinocytes. The effects of IL-17 were compared with those of IFN-gamma, which is also derived from activated T cells and is a strong stimulator for keratinocytes. IL-17 enhanced the mRNA and protein production of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-6 and IL-8 in a concentration-dependent way, and induced a weak expression of intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1 and HLA-DR. The production of IL-1alpha and IL-15 was not altered. IFN-gamma augmented the production of IL-6, IL-8, and IL-15 and strongly induced both cell-surface molecules. IL-17 and IFN-gamma showed marked synergism in the stimulation of IL-6 and IL-8 protein secretion and, to a lesser extent, in the induction of ICAM-1 and HLA-DR expression. The majority of the CD4+ and CD8+ T cell clones derived from lesional psoriatic skin expressed IL-17 mRNA, suggesting that skin-infiltrating T cells can produce this cytokine. This IL-17 mRNA expression was detectable in T helper cell type 1 and type 2 and did not correlate with the IFN-gamma or IL-4 production. In addition, IL-17 mRNA is detectable in biopsies from lesional psoriatic skin, but not in nonlesional control biopsies. Our study indicates that IL-17 is a proinflammatory cytokine, which could amplify the development of cutaneous inflammation and may support the maintenance of chronic dermatoses, through stimulation of keratinocytes to augment their secretion of proinflammatory cytokines.

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