Interleukin-23 facilitates Th1 and Th2 cell differentiation in vitro following respiratory syncytial virus infection

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Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection induces activation and imbalance of the immune system; however, the role of T helper 17 cells (Th17) in the response to RSV infection remains unclear. Interleukin-23 (IL-23) is a key cytokine in Th17 cell differentiation. The aim of this study was to explore the function of IL-23 in determining the distribution of Th lymphocyte subsets (Th1, Th2, and Th17) after RSV infection in vitro. Human bronchial epithelial cell line BEAS-2B was infected with mock or RSV at various multiplicities of infection (MOI) and transcript expression of IL-6, IL-23p19, and transforming growth factor (TGF-β) was detected by real-time polymerase chain reaction; IL-6, IL-23, and TGF-β in the supernatant were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The Th subset distribution in lymphocytes was determined by flow cytometry after co-culture with supernatants from mock and 72-hr RSV infection cultures. The role of IL-23 in lymphocytes was assessed by specific receptor blockade (IL-23R) prior to co-culture with supernatants from RSV-infected BEAS-2B cells, followed by flow cytometry to analyze Th subset differentiation. Cytokine expression increased after RSV infection. IL-23R blockade suppressed the differentiation of Th1, Th2, and Th17 cells in the presence of supernatants from RSV-infected BEAS-2B cells. RSV infection may induce cytokine secretion, thus inducing Th1, Th2, and Th17 differentiation via an IL-23R-dependent process. J. Med. Virol. 87:708–715, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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