Role of IL-17 and regulatory T lymphocytes in a systemic autoimmune disease

Jens Lohr, Birgit Knoechel, Jing Wang Jing, Alejandro V. Villarino, Abul K. Abbas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

190 Scopus citations


To explore the interactions between regulatory T cells and pathogenic effector cytokines, we have developed a model of a T cell-mediated systemic autoimmune disorder resembling graft-versus-host disease. The cytokine responsible for tissue inflammation in this disorder is interleukin (IL)-17, whereas interferon (IFN)-γ produced by Th1 cells has a protective effect in this setting. Because of the interest in potential therapeutic approaches utilizing transfer of regulatory T cells and inhibition of the IL-2 pathway, we have explored the roles of these in the systemic disease. We demonstrate that the production of IL-17 and tissue infiltration by IL-17-producing cells occur and are even enhanced in the absence of IL-2. Regulatory T cells favor IL-17 production but prevent the disease when administered early in the course by suppressing expansion of T cells. Thus, the pathogenic or protective effects of cytokines and the therapeutic capacity of regulatory T cells are crucially dependent on the timing and the nature of the disease. JEM

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2785-2791
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number13
StatePublished - Dec 25 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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