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Mucosal Immunol. 2013 Sep;6(5):972-84. doi: 10.1038/mi.2012.135. Epub 2013 Jan 9.

Interleukin-17-dependent CXCL13 mediates mucosal vaccine-induced immunity against tuberculosis.

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Department of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.


The variable efficacy of tuberculosis (TB) vaccines and the emergence of drug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) emphasize the urgency for not only generating new and more effective vaccines against TB but also understanding the underlying mechanisms that mediate vaccine-induced protection. We demonstrate that mucosal adjuvants, such as type II heat labile enterotoxin (LT-IIb), delivered through the mucosal route induce pulmonary Mtb-specific T helper type 17 (Th17) responses and provide vaccine-induced protection against Mtb infection. Importantly, protection is interferon-γ (IFNγ)-independent but interleukin-17 (IL-17)-dependent. Our data show that IL-17 mediates C-X-C motif chemokine ligand 13 (CXCL13) induction in the lung for strategic localization of proinflammatory cytokine-producing CXCR5+ (C-X-C motif chemokine receptor 5-positive) T cells within lymphoid structures, thereby promoting early and efficient macrophage activation and the control of Mtb. Our studies highlight the potential value of targeting the IL-17-CXCL13 pathway rather than the IFNγ pathway as a new strategy to improve mucosal vaccines against TB.

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