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J Immunol. 2007 Oct 1;179(7):4313-7.

Cutting edge: An in vivo requirement for STAT3 signaling in TH17 development and TH17-dependent autoimmunity.

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Department of Oncology, Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Baltimore, MD 21231, USA.


STAT3 activation has been observed in several autoimmune diseases, suggesting that STAT3-mediated pathways promote pathologic immune responses. We provide in vivo evidence that the fundamental role of STAT3 signaling in autoimmunity relates to its absolute requirement for generating T(H)17 T cell responses. We show that STAT3 is a master regulator of this pathogenic T cell subtype, acting at multiple levels in vivo, including T(H)17 T cell differentiation and cytokine production, as well as induction of RORgamma t and the IL-23R. Neither naturally occurring T(H)17 cells nor T(H)17-dependent autoimmunity occurs when STAT3 is ablated in CD4 cells. Furthermore, ablation of STAT3 signaling in CD4 cells results in increased T(H)1 responses, indicating that STAT3 signaling skews T(H) responses away from the T(H)1 pathway and toward the T(H)17 pathway. Thus, STAT3 is a candidate target for T(H)17-dependent autoimmune disease immunotherapy that could selectively inhibit pathogenic immune pathways.

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