T helper 17 (Th17) cells have recently been implicated in depression, which adds to the list of several other diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) that are already known to involve Th17 cells. In CNS diseases, it is thought that the signature cytokine produced by Th17 cells, interleukin-17A (IL-17A), mediates the detrimental effects of Th17 cells. In depression, although Th17 cells increase, the lack of a consistent correlation between depression severity and blood IL-17A levels suggests that Th17 cells promote depressive symptoms, which may not be entirely dependent on IL-17. However, little is known about the mechanism of action of Th17 cells or the source of CNS Th17 cells in depression. It is likely that Th17 cells promote neuroinflammation and activation of microglia and astrocytes, actions that may contribute to neuronal damage. A source of Th17 cells is the small intestine where they are regulated by the composition of the microbiome. It remains to be determined through what mechanisms of action Th17 cells affect depression and if Th17 cells can be considered a novel therapeutic target in depression.
- Th17 cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
- Behavioral Neuroscience