The potential role of interleukin-17 in severe asthma

Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2011 Oct;11(5):388-94. doi: 10.1007/s11882-011-0210-y.


Asthma has long been characterized as a disease of dysregulated T-helper type 2 immune responses to environmental allergens. Clinical studies suggest that asthma is a heterogeneous disorder with distinct types of inflammatory processes. Accumulating evidence suggests that aberrant interleukin (IL)-17 production is a key determinant of severe forms of asthma. However, the identity of IL-17-producing cells and the factors regulating IL-17 production during the course of allergic inflammation remain elusive. In this review, we summarize the potential IL-17-producing cells and their involvement in the inflammatory responses that mediate distinct features of asthma. The role of proinflammatory cytokines and the complement pathway in regulating the generation of IL-17-producing T cells is also discussed. Understanding the biology of IL-17 in the context of allergic inflammation may be informative in the development of novel approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of asthma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asthma / diagnosis
  • Asthma / immunology*
  • Asthma / pathology
  • Asthma / therapy
  • Complement Activation / immunology*
  • Complement System Proteins / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / diagnosis
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Inflammation / therapy
  • Interleukin-17
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*
  • Th2 Cells / pathology


  • Interleukin-17
  • Complement System Proteins