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Microbes Infect. 2012 Nov;14(13):1133-43. doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2012.05.008. Epub 2012 May 23.

IL-17 and γδ T-lymphocytes play a critical role in innate immunity against Nocardia asteroides GUH-2.

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Respiratory Disease Unit, California National Primate Research Center (CNPRC), University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


The early host response during pulmonary nocardiosis is highly dependent on neutrophils and the successful clearance of bacteria in tissue. The data presented in this study showed that IL-17 mediated the neutrophil response following intranasal inoculation with Nocardia asteroides strain GUH-2. Flow cytometry revealed that neutrophil levels in C57BL/6 mice were increased by day 1 post inoculation and remained elevated until day 3, during which time the majority of bacterial clearance occurred. Intracellular cytokine staining for IL-17 showed a 3.5- to 5-fold increase in IL-17 producing T-lymphocytes that were predominately comprised by CD4(-)CD8(-) γδ T-lymphocytes. The importance of IL-17 and γδ T-cells was determined by the in vivo administration of antibody, capable of blocking IL-17 binding or TCR δ, respectively. Neutralization of either IL-17 or γδ T-cells in Nocardia treated mice resulted in attenuated neutrophil infiltration. Paralleling this impaired neutrophil recruitment, nearly a 10-fold increase in bacterial burden was observed in both anti-IL-17 and anti-TCR δ treated animals. Together, these data indicate a protective role for IL-17 and suggest that IL-17 producing γδ T-lymphocytes contribute to neutrophil infiltration during pulmonary nocardiosis.

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