The T helper type 17 (Th17) lineage of CD4+ T-cells produce several effector molecules including IL-17A, IL-17F, IL-21, and IL-22. In addition to CD4+, αβ T-cells, these cytokines can be produced by natural killer and γδ T-cells. These effector cytokines can be produced rapidly upon infection at mucosal sites and evidence to date strongly implicates that this arm of the immune system plays a critical role in mucosal immunity to many extracellular pathogens. Moreover these cytokines can also coordinate adaptive immunity to some intracellular pathogens. In this review, we will highlight recent progress in our understanding of these cytokines, and mechanisms of their effector function in the mucosa.
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