Activation of peripheral Th17 lymphocytes in patients with asthma

C. K. Wong, S. W.M. Lun, F. W.S. Ko, P. T.Y. Wong, S. Q. Hu, I. H.S. Chan, D. S.C. Hui, C. W.K. Lam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


A recently identified interleukin (IL)-17-producing T-helper (Th) lymphocyte subset, which comprises Th17 cells producing hallmark cytokines IL-17A, IL-17F and IL-22, is involved in chronic inflammatory diseases. Elevated gene and protein expressions of IL-17 are manifested in allergic asthma. We further characterized the activation of Th17 cells in asthmatic patients. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were purified from 31 asthmatic patients and 20 sex- and age-matched control subjects. The number of IL-17A secreting cells in peripheral blood was enumerated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot assay. Cell surface expression of Th17-related chemokine receptor CCR6, and plasma level of IL-17A, IL-17F and IL-22, and ex vivo production of IL-17A and IL-22 were measured by flow cytometry and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, respectively. The number of peripheral Th17 lymphocytes, expression of CCR6 on Th cells, and ex vivo IL-23, anti-CD3 and anti-CD28 induced production of IL-22 by PBMC were significantly elevated in asthmatic patients compared with control subjects (all p < 0.01). This clinical study further confirmed increased number of peripheral Th17 lymphocytes and cell surface expression of CCR6 receptors on Th cells in asthmatic patients. Pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-23 can exacerbate disease severity by activating pathogenic Th17 lymphocytes to release downstream inflammatory cytokine IL-22 in asthma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)652-664
Number of pages13
JournalImmunological Investigations
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 9 2009


  • Asthma
  • CCR6
  • IL-22
  • Th17 cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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