IL-17 can be protective or deleterious in murine pneumococcal pneumonia

Neil D. Ritchie, Ryan Ritchie, Hannah K. Bayes, Tim J Mitchell, Tom J. Evans

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11 Citations (Scopus)
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Streptococcus pneumoniae is the major bacterial cause of community-acquired pneumonia, and the leading agent of childhood pneumonia deaths worldwide. Nasal colonization is an essential step prior to infection. The cytokine IL-17 protects against such colonization and vaccines that enhance IL-17 responses to pneumococcal colonization are being developed. The role of IL-17 in host defence against pneumonia is not known. To address this issue, we have utilized a murine model of pneumococcal pneumonia in which the gene for the IL-17 cytokine family receptor, Il17ra, has been inactivated. Using this model, we show that IL-17 produced predominantly from γδ T cells protects mice against death from the invasive TIGR4 strain (serotype 4) which expresses a relatively thin capsule. However, in pneumonia produced by two heavily encapsulated strains with low invasive potential (serotypes 3 and 6B), IL-17 significantly enhanced mortality. Neutrophil uptake and killing of the serotype 3 strain was significantly impaired compared to the serotype 4 strain and depletion of neutrophils with antibody enhanced survival of mice infected with the highly encapsulated SRL1 strain. These data strongly suggest that IL-17 mediated neutrophil recruitment to the lungs clears infection from the invasive TIGR4 strain but that lung neutrophils exacerbate disease caused by the highly encapsulated pneumococcal strains. Thus, whilst augmenting IL-17 immune responses against pneumococci may decrease nasal colonization, this may worsen outcome during pneumonia caused by some strains.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1007099
Number of pages25
JournalPLoS pathogens
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2018


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