Interleukin-17 and its expanding biological functions

Cell Mol Immunol. 2010 May;7(3):164-74. doi: 10.1038/cmi.2010.21. Epub 2010 Apr 12.


Interleukin-17 (IL-17) and IL-17-producing cells have been shown to play important roles in inflammation and the immune response. IL-17 is believed to be mainly produced by T helper 17 (Th17) cells, a unique helper T-cell subset different from Th1 and Th2 cells. Other subsets of T cells such as gammadeltaT and natural killer T (NKT) cells have also been found to produce IL-17 in response to innate stimuli. IL-17 acts as a proinflammatory cytokine that can induce the release of certain chemokines, cytokines, matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and antimicrobial peptides from mesenchymal and myeloid cells. This leads to the expansion and accumulation of neutrophils in the innate immune system and links innate and adaptive immunity in vivo. Furthermore, increasing evidence indicates that IL-17 and IL-17-producing cells are involved in the pathogenesis of various diseases such as allergies, autoimmune diseases, allograft transplantation and even malignancy. They may also play protective roles in host defense against infectious diseases and promote induction of cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses against cancer. Targeting of the IL-17 axis is under investigation for the treatment of inflammatory disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Interleukin-17 / immunology*
  • Interleukin-17 / metabolism
  • Receptors, Interleukin-17 / immunology
  • Receptors, Interleukin-17 / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology


  • Interleukin-17
  • Receptors, Interleukin-17