Critical role for STAT3 in IL-17A-mediated CCL11 expression in human airway smooth muscle cells

J Immunol. 2009 Mar 15;182(6):3357-65. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.0801882.


IL-17A has been shown to be expressed at higher levels in respiratory secretions from asthmatics and to correlate with airway hyperresponsiveness. Although these studies raise the possibility that IL-17A may influence allergic disease, the mechanism remains unknown. We previously demonstrated that IL-17A mediates CC chemokine (CCL11) production from human airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells. In this study, we demonstrate that STAT3 activation is critical in IL-17A-mediated CCL11 expression in ASM cells. IL-17A mediated a rapid phosphorylation of STAT3 but not STAT6 or STAT5 in ASM cells. Interestingly, transient transfection with wild-type or mutated CCL11 promoter constructs showed that IL-17A-mediated CCL11 expression relies on the STAT6 binding site. However, STAT3 but not STAT6 in vivo binding to the CCL11 promoter was detected following IL-17A stimulation of ASM cells. Overexpression of DN STAT3 (STAT3beta) abolishes IL-17A-induced CCL11 promoter activity. This effect was not observed with STAT6 DN or the STAT3 mutant at Ser(727). Interestingly, disruption of STAT3 activity with the SH2 domain binding peptide, but not with control peptide, results in a significant reduction of IL-17A-mediated STAT3 phosphorylation and CCL11 promoter activity. IL-17A-mediated CCL11 promoter activity and mRNA were significantly diminished in STAT3- but not STAT6-silenced ASM cells. Finally, IL-17A-induced STAT3 phosphorylation was sensitive to pharmacological inhibitors of JAK2 and ERK1/2. Taken together, our data provide the first evidence of IL-17A-mediated gene expression via STAT3 in ASM cells. Collectively, our results raise the possibility that the IL-17A/STAT3 signaling pathway may play a crucial role in airway inflammatory responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites / immunology
  • Bronchi / cytology
  • Bronchi / immunology*
  • Bronchi / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chemokine CCL11 / biosynthesis*
  • Chemokine CCL11 / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation / immunology
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-17 / physiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / immunology
  • Protein Binding / immunology
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / physiology*
  • STAT6 Transcription Factor / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / immunology


  • CCL11 protein, human
  • Chemokine CCL11
  • IL17A protein, human
  • Interleukin-17
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor
  • STAT3 protein, human
  • STAT6 Transcription Factor
  • STAT6 protein, human