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Abstract: IL-17 & the corneal barrier

Mucosal Immunol. 2009 May;2(3):243-53. Epub 2009 Feb 25.
IL-17 disrupts corneal barrier following desiccating stress.
De Paiva CS, Chotikavanich S, Pangelinan SB, Pitcher JD 3rd, Fang B, Zheng X, Ma P, Farley WJ, Siemasko KF, Niederkorn JY, Stern ME, Li DQ, Pflugfelder SC.
Department of Ophthalmology, Ocular Surface Center, Cullen Eye Institute, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA.

T helper (Th)-17 is a recently identified subtype of Th response that has been implicated in host defense and autoimmunity. We investigated whether there is evidence for a Th-17 response in human and experimental murine dry eye (DE). Gene expression in the human DE conjunctiva showed increased levels of the Th-17 inducers, interleukin (IL)-23, IL-17A, and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma). In the murine model, we found that desiccating stress increased matrix metalloproteinase-9, Th-17-associated genes (IL-6, IL-23, transforming growth factor-beta1 and -2, IL-23R, IL-17R, IL-17A, retinoid-related orphan receptor-gammat, and CC chemokine attractant ligand-20) and IFN-gamma in cornea and conjunctiva. Furthermore, we found a significantly increased concentration of IL-17 in tears and number of IL-17-producing cells on the ocular surface. Antibody neutralization of IL-17 ameliorated experimental DE-induced corneal epithelial barrier dysfunction and decreased the expression of matrix metalloproteinases 3 and 9. Taken together, these findings suggest that IL-17 has a role in corneal epithelial barrier disruption in DE.