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Interleukin 17: A Jekyll and Hyde of the Immune System?

  May, 21 2009 9:22
your information resource in human molecular genetics

Interleukin 17 (IL-17) -- a soluble factor thought to promote inflammation and autoimmunity -- can actually suppress the onset of inflammatory bowel disease, shows a paper published online in Nature Immunology.

Previous work documented high concentrations of IL-17 and interferon-gamma, another cytokine implicated in inflammation and autoimmunity, in colon tissue of humans with Crohn's disease and mice with colitis.

Using a mouse model of colitis in which immune cells called T cells initiate disease, Richard Flavell and colleagues noted that T cells lacking IL-17 or the IL-17 receptor induced more severe colitis than T cells able to produce and respond to IL-17. IL-17-deficient T cells also released more interferon-gamma.

These findings suggest net effects of IL-17 may be pro- or anti-inflammatory, and likely depend on the tissue and environment being examined.

Author contact:

Richard Flavell (Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA)
E-mail: richard.flavell@yale.edu

Abstract available online.

(C) Nature Immunology press release.

Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza

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