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Borrelia burgdorferi potently activates bone marrow-derived conventional dendritic cells for production of IL-23 required for IL-17 release by T cells.

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Lyme borreliosis is characterized by cellular inflammatory responses at multiple body sites. Recently, an association of interleukin-17 (IL-17) and
Lyme arthritis was suggested. In this context, it is of special interest that the heterodimeric cytokine IL-23 can act on T cells and initiate the up-regulation of effector cytokines such as IL-17. To determine the role of this specific cytokine cascade for the induction of subsequently induced proinflammatory events we developed an in vitro system to investigate the IL-23-inducing capacity of Borrelia burgdorferi and the potential of the spirochete for inducing the IL-23/IL-17 axis. We used cells derived from mice deficient for IL-23 or IL-12 only or deficient for both IL-12 and IL-23 to define precisely the function of these cytokines. Experiments with bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (BMDC) identified these cells as sources for IL-23 but not for IL-12 after B. burgdorferi exposure. Subsequent investigations with T cell-depleted splenocyte fractions revealed a tight IL-23/IL-17 axis in response to the spirochetes. Monoclonal antibodies that block IL-23 showed further that BMDC-derived IL-23 was required for production of IL-17 in this experimental model. These in vitro data describing a spirochete-induced release of IL-23 may help to define IL-17-dependent inflammatory responses in the

FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2007 Apr;49(3):353-63. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov’t

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