The IL-17 pathway as a major therapeutic target in autoimmune diseases

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2011 Jan;1217:60-76. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2010.05825.x. Epub 2010 Dec 13.


Th17 cells are a subset of T helper cells that have been recently found to play important functions in host defense and the pathogenesis of various human autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Th17 cells produce IL-17A, IL-17F, IL-22, and IL-21, of which IL-17A and IL-17F mediate many of the downstream pathologic functions of these cells. IL-17A and IL-17F signal through IL-17RA and IL-17RC heterodimeric receptors that are mainly expressed on tissue epithelial cells and fibroblasts. While IL-17A and IL-17F are important for host defense against many extracellular pathogens, they can also cause excessive tissue damage and exacerbate proinflammatory responses during autoimmunity. The IL-17 pathway, therefore, is a primary therapeutic target downstream of Th17 cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antirheumatic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Autoimmune Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / metabolism
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-17 / immunology
  • Interleukin-17 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-17 / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*
  • Th17 Cells / immunology
  • Th17 Cells / metabolism


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • IL17A protein, human
  • IL17F protein, human
  • Interleukin-17