IL-17 is a cytokine that induces neutrophil-mediated inflammation, but its role in protective immunity against intracellular bacterial infection remains unclear. In the present study, we demonstrate that IL-17 is an important cytokine not only in the early neutrophil-mediated inflammatory response, but also in T cell-mediated IFN-γ production and granuloma formation in response to pulmonary infection by Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG). IL-17 expression in the BCG-infected lung was detected from the first day after infection and the expression depended on IL-23. Our observations indicated that γδ T cells are a primary source of IL-17. Lung-infiltrating T cells of IL-17-deficient mice produced less IFN-γ in comparison to those from wild-type mice 4 wk after BCG infection. Impaired granuloma formation was also observed in the infected lungs of IL-17-deficient mice, which is consistent with the decreased delayed-type hypersensitivity response of the infected mice against mycobacterial Ag. These data suggest that IL-17 is an important cytokine in the induction of optimal Th1 response and protective immunity against mycobacterial infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy