IL-17C Is a Mediator of Respiratory Epithelial Innate Immune Response

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The IL-17 family of cytokines consists of at least six members (IL-17A to -F). IL-17 directly activates epithelial cells leading to the expression of inflammatory mediators and antimicrobial factors. Recent studies showed that IL-17C is expressed by epithelial cells. It was the purpose of this study to examine the expression of IL-17 family members in respiratory epithelial cells during bacterial infection. We show that common bacterial pathogens, such asPseudomonas aeruginosaandHaemophilus influenzae,and ligands of Toll-like receptors 3 and 5 (flagellin, polyI:C) induced the expression and release of IL-17C in cultured human bronchial epithelial cells (HBECs). The expression of IL-17A, -B, -D, or -E was not induced by bacterial stimuli in HBECs. IL-17C enhanced inflammatory responses of respiratory epithelial cells infected withP. aeruginosa.Furthermore, we demonstrate that cigarette smoke suppressed the expression of IL-17C in HBECs in response to bacterial infection andin vivoin the upper airways of mice colonized withH. influenzae.IL-17C could also be detected in bronchial tissue of subjects with infection-related lung diseases. These data show that IL-17C is involved in the innate immune response of respiratory epithelial cells and is suppressed by cigarette smoke.

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