We found that IL-17, a signature cytokine of Th17, was produced early in the innate immunity phase after an intranasal infection with the obligate intracellular pathogen Chlamydia muridarum. The airway IL-17, which peaked at 48 h after infection, was dependent on live chlamydial organism replication and MyD88-mediated signaling pathways. Treatment with antibiotics or knockout of the MyD88 gene, but not Toll/IL receptor domain-containing adapter-inducing IFN-β, can block the early IL-17 production. Treatment of mice with an anti-IL-17-neutralizing mAb enhanced growth of chlamydial organisms in the lung, dissemination to other organs, and decreased mouse survival, whereas treatment with an isotype-matched control IgG had no effect. Although IL-17 did not directly affect chlamydial growth in cell culture, it enhanced the production of other inflammatory cytokines and chemokines by Chlamydia-infected cells and promoted neutrophil infiltration in mouse airways during chlamydial infection, which may contribute to the antichlamydial effect of IL-17. These observations suggest that an early IL-17 response as an innate immunity component plays an important role in initiating host defense against infection with intracellular bacterial pathogens in the airway.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy