Herpetic stromal keratitis (HSK) is an immunopathologic disease triggered by infection of the cornea with HSV. Key events in HSK involve the interaction between cornea-infiltrating inflammatory cells and resident cells. This interaction, in which macrophages, producing IL-1 and TNF-alpha, and IFN-gamma-producing Th1 cells play a crucial role, results in the local secretion of immune-modulatory factors and a major influx of neutrophils causing corneal lesions and blindness. The Th1-derived cytokine IL-17 has been shown to play an important role in several inflammatory diseases characterized by a massive infiltration of neutrophils into inflamed tissue. Here we show that IL-17 is expressed in corneas from patients with HSK and that the IL-17R is constitutively expressed by human corneal fibroblasts (HCF). IL-17 exhibited a strong synergistic effect with TNF-alpha on the induction of IL-6 and IL-8 secretion by cultured HCF. Secreted IL-8 in these cultures had a strong chemotactic effect on neutrophils. IL-17 also enhanced TNF-alpha- and IFN-gamma-induced secretion of macrophage-inflammatory proteins 1alpha and 3alpha, while inhibiting the induced secretion of RANTES. Furthermore, considerable levels of IFN-gamma-inducible protein 10 and matrix metalloproteinase 1 were measured in stimulated HCF cultures, while the constitutive secretion of monocyte chemotactic protein 1 remained unaffected. The data presented suggest that IL-17 may play an important role in the induction and/or perpetuation of the immunopathologic processes in human HSK by modulating the secretion of proinflammatory and neutrophil chemotactic factors by corneal resident fibroblasts

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Journal of Immunology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Maertzdorf, J., Osterhaus, A., & Verjans, G. (2002). IL-17 expression in human herpetic stromal keratitis: modulatory effects on chemokine production by corneal fibroblasts. Journal of Immunology. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/10014