The association between the Th-17 immune response and pulmonary complications in a trauma ICU population

Travis L. Holloway, Meenakshi Rani, Andrew P. Cap, Ronald M. Stewart, Martin G. Schwacha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: The overall immunopathology of the T-helper cell (Th)-17 immune response has been implicated in various inflammatory diseases including pulmonary inflammation; however its potential role in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is not defined. This study aimed to evaluate the Th-17 response in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and blood and from trauma patients with pulmonary complications. Methods: A total of 21 severely injured intensive care unit (ICU) subjects, who were mechanically ventilated and undergoing bronchoscopy, were enrolled. BALF and blood were collected and analyzed for Th-1 (interferon [IFN]γ), Th-2 (interleukin [IL]-4, -10), Th-17 (IL-17A, -17F, -22, 23) and pro-inflammatory (IL-1β, IL-6, tumor necrosis factor [TNF]α) cytokine levels. Results: Significant levels of the Th-17 cytokines IL-17A, -17F and -21 and IL-6 (which can be classified as a Th-17 cytokine) were observed in the BALF of all subjects. There were no significant differences in Th-17 cytokines between those subjects with ARDS and those without, with the exception of plasma and BALF IL-6, which was markedly greater in ARDS subjects, as compared with controls and non-ARDS subjects. Conclusions: Trauma patients with pulmonary complications exhibited a significant Th-17 response in the lung and blood, suggesting that this pro-inflammatory milieu may be a contributing factor to such complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)328-333
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Acute lung injury
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • IL-17
  • Inflammation
  • Injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Hematology
  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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