Susceptibility to pulmonary disease due to Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare complex may reflect low IL-17 and high IL-10 responses rather than Th1 deficiency

Clin Immunol. 2010 Nov;137(2):296-302. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2010.07.011. Epub 2010 Aug 24.


It remains unclear why some individuals and not others are susceptible to non-tuberculous mycobacterial lung disease (NTMLD). To determine whether NTMLD is associated with defects or biases in Th1/Th2/Th17 immunity, blood leukocytes from NTM patients with nodular bronchiectasis, their adult offspring, and healthy population controls were stimulated with staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB), tuberculin and sensitin to measure cytokine production. In response to SEB, NTM patients exhibited higher frequencies of IFNγ-producing CD4(+) T cells than population controls (P<0.001). In supernatant, levels of IL-17 were lower in patients than adult offspring. Sensitin elicited higher IFNγ responses from patients than controls (P<0.05). Patients also produced more IL-10 in supernatant than controls after culture with tuberculin (P<0.01) or sensitin (P<0.05), but IL-10-producing CD4(+) T cells were undetectable. NTMLD is not associated with deficient IFNγ production, but may be associated with reduced Th17 immunity and/or a predisposition towards IL-10 production from non-CD4(+) T cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Adult Children
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antigens / immunology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Cell Count
  • Disease Susceptibility / immunology
  • Enterotoxins / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism
  • Interleukin-10 / immunology*
  • Interleukin-17 / immunology*
  • Interleukin-5 / metabolism
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare Infection / immunology*
  • Th1 Cells / cytology*
  • Th1 Cells / immunology*
  • Th17 Cells / immunology*
  • Th17 Cells / metabolism
  • Th2 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / metabolism
  • Tuberculin / immunology


  • Antigens
  • Enterotoxins
  • IL5 protein, human
  • Interleukin-17
  • Interleukin-5
  • Tuberculin
  • sensitin
  • Interleukin-10
  • enterotoxin B, staphylococcal
  • Interferon-gamma