Until recently, autoimmune diseases had been categorized as either Th1or Th2-mediated diseases. However, the discovery of a novel subset of helper T cells producing interleukin (IL)-17, ie, Th17 cells, changed this paradigm. Currently, IL-17 and Th17 cells are implicated in many autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, and inflammatory bowel diseases. Such conclusions were initially drawn from observations in animal models of autoimmune diseases, and accumulating data from clinical research also support the involvement of IL-17 in human diseases as well. Reagents targeting Th17-related molecules have been under clinical investigation for some diseases but have not always been effective in controlling disease activity. Consistent with this, it has become evident that there are substantial differences in the development of Th17 cells and in the way they function in autoimmune diseases between humans and experimental animals. Thus, further investigation is needed before we can draw any conclusions about the importance of IL-17 and Th17 cells in human autoimmune diseases.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy