Development and function of TH17 cells in health and disease

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009 May;123(5):1004-11. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2009.04.003.


T(H)17 cells are the newest member of the T(H) cell family and are characterized by their ability to produce specific cytokines such as IL-17, IL-22, IL-17F, and CCL20. In this review, conditions for the differentiation of T(H)17 cells are defined in both murine and human systems, with discussion of T(H)17-specific cytokines and transcription factors. Functionally, T(H)17 cells contribute to host defense as a new effector T(H) cell subset with a role in protection against extracellular bacteria through activities on immune and nonimmune cells. Their activities, however, are also pivotal in the development of autoimmune diseases under pathologic conditions. T(H)17 cells are also beginning to be associated with the development and pathophysiology of allergic diseases, such as allergic contact dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, and asthma. Lymphoid tissue inducer-like cells and natural killer-like cells, termed RORgammat(+)NKp46(+) or NK-22 cells, might also play a role in allergic diseases because of their propensity to produce IL-17 and IL-22.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmunity / immunology
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Hypersensitivity / metabolism
  • Infections / immunology
  • Infections / metabolism
  • Interleukin-17 / immunology*
  • Interleukin-17 / metabolism
  • Natural Killer T-Cells / immunology*
  • Natural Killer T-Cells / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / metabolism


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-17