TCR-independent functions of Th17 cells mediated by the synergistic actions of cytokines of the IL-12 and IL-1 families

Academic Article


  • The development of Th17 cells is accompanied by the acquisition of responsiveness to both IL-12 and IL-23, cytokines with established roles in the development and/or function of Th1 and Th17 cells, respectively. IL-12 signaling promotes antigen-dependent Th1 differentiation but, in combination with IL-18, allows the antigen-independent perpetuation of Th1 responses. On the other hand, while IL-23 is dispensable for initial commitment to the Th17 lineage, it promotes the pathogenic function of the Th17 cells. In this study, we have examined the overlap between Th1 and Th17 cells in their responsiveness to common pro-inflammatory cytokines and how this affects the antigen-independent cytokine responses of Th17 cells. We found that in addition to the IL-1 receptor, developing Th17 cells also up-regulate the IL-18 receptor. Consequently, in the presence of IL-1β or IL-18, and in the absence of TCR activation, Th17 cells produce Th17 lineage cytokines in a STAT3-dependent manner when stimulated with IL-23, and IFN© via a STAT4-dependent mechanism when stimulated with IL-12. Thus, building on previous findings of antigen-induced plasticity of Th17 cells, our results indicate that this potential of Th17 cells extends to their cytokine-dependent antigen-independent responses. Collectively, our data suggest a model whereby signaling via either IL-1β or IL-18 allows for bystander responses of Th17 cells to pathogens or pathogen products that differentially activate innate cell production of IL-12 or IL-23.
  • Published In

  • PLoS One  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Lee YK; Landuyt AE; Lobionda S; Sittipo P; Zhao Q; Maynard CL
  • Volume

  • 12
  • Issue

  • 10