IL-17 production by tissue-resident MAIT cells is locally induced in children with pneumonia

Mucosal Immunol. 2020 Sep;13(5):824-835. doi: 10.1038/s41385-020-0273-y. Epub 2020 Feb 28.


Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) contributes substantially to morbidity and mortality in children under the age of 5 years. In examining bronchoalveolar lavages (BALs) of children with CAP, we found that interleukin-17 (IL-17) production was significantly increased in severe CAP. Immune profiling showed that mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells from the BALs, but not blood, of CAP patients actively produced IL-17 (MAIT17). Single-cell RNA-sequencing revealed that MAIT17 resided in a BAL-resident PLZFhiCD103+ MAIT subset with high expression of hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α), reflecting the hypoxic state of the inflamed tissue. CAP BALs also contained a T-bet+ MAIT1 subset and a novel DDIT3+ (DNA damage-inducible transcript 3-positive) MAIT subset with low expression of HIF1A. Furthermore, MAIT17 differed from T-helper type 17 (Th17) cells in the expression of genes related to tissue location, innateness, and cytotoxicity. Finally, we showed that BAL monocytes were hyper-inflammatory and elicited differentiation of MAIT17. Thus, tissue-resident MAIT17 cells are induced at the infected respiratory mucosa, likely influenced by inflammatory monocytes, and contribute to IL-17-mediated inflammation during CAP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't