Intestinal neuroendocrine cells and goblet cells are mediators of IL-17A-amplified epithelial IL-17C production in human inflammatory bowel disease

Mucosal Immunol. 2015 Jul;8(4):943-58. doi: 10.1038/mi.2014.124. Epub 2014 Dec 10.


Interleukin (IL)-17C is a novel member of the IL-17 cytokine family. Its function in human inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) remains elusive as its role in colonic inflammation is entirely derived from murine models. We aimed to analyze the role of IL-17C in human IBD, focusing on T helper type 17 (Th17) cell- and intestinal epithelial cell (IEC)-dependent mechanisms. IL-17C mRNA (P=0.005), serum levels (P=0.008), and colonic staining intensity (P=0.004) is increased in active IBD. Serum IL-17C levels are modified by IL23R genotypes and IL-17C mRNA correlates (r>0.5, P<0.001) with IL-17A, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, C-C motif chemokine ligand 20 (CCL20) and IL-23 mRNA in the inflamed colon of IBD patients. In the inflamed colon, IL-17C is produced by enteroendocrine and goblet cells, with contrary polar cytosolic localization of IL-17C within the cellular axis. In these two cell types, IL-17A strongly amplifies TNF-α-induced IL-17C production. On the molecular level, IL-17C production in IECs is dependent on TNF-α-activated nuclear factor-κB, extracellular signal-regulated kinase-1/2 and p38, and IL-17A-activated Akt, monocyte chemotactic protein-induced protein 1, and C/EBPδ. IL-17C upregulates the Th17 chemoattractant CCL20 in IECs. In summary, our findings support the involvement of IL-17A-amplified IL-17C production by enteroendocrine and goblet cells in the pathogenesis of active IBD, revealing an interaction between the neuroendocrine system and the Th17 pathway in human IBD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Autocrine Communication
  • Biomarkers
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Chromogranin A / metabolism
  • Connexin 43 / metabolism
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression
  • Genotype
  • Goblet Cells / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / genetics
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / metabolism*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / pathology
  • Interleukin-17 / blood
  • Interleukin-17 / genetics
  • Interleukin-17 / metabolism*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Neuroendocrine Cells / metabolism*
  • Peptide Fragments / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • RNA Stability
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptors, Interleukin / genetics
  • Receptors, Interleukin / metabolism
  • Ribonucleases / metabolism
  • Th17 Cells / immunology
  • Th17 Cells / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • ACT1 protein
  • Biomarkers
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Proteins
  • Chromogranin A
  • Connexin 43
  • Cytokines
  • IL23R protein, human
  • Interleukin-17
  • NF-kappa B
  • Peptide Fragments
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Interleukin
  • Transcription Factors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Ribonucleases
  • ZC3H12A protein, human