IL-17-producing T helper (Th17) cells have been implicated in the pathogenesis of many inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Targeting the effector cytokines IL-17 and GM-CSF secreted by autoimmune Th17 cells has been shown to be effective for the treatment of the diseases. Understanding a molecular basis of Th17 differentiation and effector functions is therefore critical for the regulation of the pathogenicity of tissue Th17 cells in chronic inflammation. Here, we discuss the roles of proinflammatory cytokines and environmental stimuli in the control of Th17 differentiation and chronic tissue inflammation by pathogenic Th17 cells in humans and in mouse models of autoimmune diseases. We also highlight recent advances in the regulation of pathogenic Th17 cells by gut microbiota and immunometabolism in autoimmune arthritis.
Keywords: Autoimmune arthritis; EAE; GM-CSF; IL-17; Rheumatoid arthritis; Th17 cells.