RORγt(+) Th17 cells are important for mucosal defenses but also contribute to autoimmune disease. They accumulate in the intestine in response to microbiota and produce IL-17 cytokines. Segmented filamentous bacteria (SFB) are Th17-inducing commensals that potentiate autoimmunity in mice. RORγt(+) T cells were induced in mesenteric lymph nodes early after SFB colonization and distributed across different segments of the gastrointestinal tract. However, robust IL-17A production was restricted to the ileum, where SFB makes direct contact with the epithelium and induces serum amyloid A proteins 1 and 2 (SAA1/2), which promote local IL-17A expression in RORγt(+) T cells. We identified an SFB-dependent role of type 3 innate lymphoid cells (ILC3), which secreted IL-22 that induced epithelial SAA production in a Stat3-dependent manner. This highlights the critical role of tissue microenvironment in activating effector functions of committed Th17 cells, which may have important implications for how these cells contribute to inflammatory disease.
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