IL-17 is not essential for inflammation and chronic pelvic pain development in an experimental model of chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome

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Pain and inflammation in the absence of infection are hallmarks in chronic prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) patients. The etiology of CP/CPPS is unclear, and autoimmunity has been proposed as a cause. Experimental autoimmune prostatitis (EAP) models have long been used for studying CP/CPPS. Herein, we studied prostate inflammation induction and chronic pelvic pain development in EAP using IL-12p40-KO, IL-4-KO, IL-17-KO, and wild-type (C57BL/6) mice. Prostate antigen (PAg) immunization in C57BL/6 mice induced specific Th1 and Th17 immune responses and severe prostate inflammation and cell infiltration, mainly composed of CD4+ T cells and macrophages. Moreover, chronic pelvic pain was evidenced by increased allodynia responses. In immunized IL-17-KO mice, the presence of a prominent PAg-specific Th1 immune response caused similar prostate inflammation and chronic pelvic pain. Furthermore, markedly high PAg-specific Th1 immune responses, exacerbated prostate inflammation, and chronic pelvic pain were detected in immunized IL-4-KO mice. Conversely, immunized IL-12p40-KO mice developed PAg-specific Th2 immune responses, characterized by high IL-4 secretion and neither infiltration nor damage in the prostate. As observed in wild-type control animals, IL12p40-KO mice did not evidence tactile allodynia responses. Our results suggest that, as in patients, chronic pelvic pain is a consequence of prostate inflammation. After PAg immunization, a Th1-associated immune response develops and induces prostate inflammation and chronic pelvic pain. The absence of Th1 or Th2 cytokines, respectively, diminishes or enhances EAP susceptibility. In addition, IL-17 showed not to be essential for pathology induction and chronic pelvic pain development.

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