IL-17A Blockade Attenuates Obliterative Bronchiolitis and IFN-γ Cellular Immune Response in Lung Allografts
Obliterative bronchiolitis (OB), characterized by fibrous obliteration of the small airways, is a major impediment to long-term survival in lung allograft recipients. We found previously that IL-17A is produced primarily by CD4+ T cells and γδ T cells after lung transplant in a mouse model of orthotopic lung transplant. The absence of either subset of T cells was compensated for by expansion of the other subset, which suggested that systemic blockade of IL-17A was necessary. To determine the specific role of IL-17A in the development of OB, we treated lung allograft recipients with an IL-17A antagonistic antibody. After IL-17A blockade, the incidence of OB was significantly reduced in lung allografts. IL-17A blockade also significantly attenuated the severity of acute rejection and overall lung fibrosis. The decreased OB incidence was associated with reduced lymphocyte recruitment, particularly CD8+ T cells and other IFN-γ-producing lymphocytes, to the lung allograft. Interestingly, IL-17A blockade led to an increase in the frequency of IL-17A-producing T-helper cell type 17 cells and γδ T cells in lung allografts, suggesting that IL-17A is a negative regulator of these T cells. Our data suggest that blocking IL-17A after lung transplant reduces the overall IFN-γ-mediated lymphocyte response and decreases the development of OB.