Background and Objectives: Interleukin-17 (IL-17) is a cytokine family consisting of six members and five specific receptors. IL-17A was the first member to be identified in 1993. Since then, several studies have elucidated that IL-17 has predominantly pro-inflammatory activity and that its production is involved in both the defense against pathogens and the genesis of autoimmune processes. Materials and Methods: In this review, we provide an overview of the role of interleukin-17 in the pathogenesis of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) and its relationship with IL-23, the so-called IL-23-IL-17 axis, by reporting updated findings from the scientific literature. Results: Strong evidence supports the role of interleukin-17A in the pathogenesis of JIA after the deregulated production of this interleukin by both T helper 17 (Th17) cells and cells of innate immunity. The blocking of IL-17A was found to improve the course of JIA, leading to the approval of the use of the human anti-IL17A monoclonal antibody secukinumab in the treatment of the JIA subtypes juvenile psoriatic arthritis (JPsA) and enthesitis-related arthritis (ERA). Conclusions: IL-17A plays a central role in the pathogenesis of JIA. Blocking its production with specific biologic drugs enables the effective treatment of this disabling childhood rheumatic disease.
Keywords: interleukin-17; interleukin-23; juvenile idiopathic arthritis; secukinumab.