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Superantigenic Staphylococcus aureus stimulate production of IL-17 from memory but not naive T cells.

Journal article
Authors Ulrika Islander
Annica Andersson
Erika Lindberg
Ingegerd Adlerberth
Agnes E Wold
Anna Rudin
Published in Infection and immunity
Volume 78
Issue 1
Pages 381-386
ISSN 1098-5522
Publication year 2010
Published at Institute of Medicine, Department of Rheumatology and Inflammation Research
Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Infectious Medicine
Pages 381-386
Language en
Keywords Th17, Staphylococcus aureus, memory T cells,
Subject categories Microbiology in the medical area


T helper 17 (Th17) cells are characterized by their production of IL-17 and have a role in the protection against infections and in certain inflammatory diseases. Humans who lack Th17 cells are more susceptible to Staphylococcus aureus infections compared to individuals having Th17 cells. S. aureus is part of the commensal skin microflora and also colonize the infant gut. To investigate if UV-killed S. aureus would be more capable of inducing IL-17 than other commensal bacteria, we stimulated mononuclear cells from adults, infants and newborns with various Gram-positive and Gram-negative commensal bacteria. IL-17 was produced from adult memory Th17 cells after stimulation with superantigen-producing S. aureus, but not non-superantigenic S. aureus or other common commensal gut bacteria. Cells from newborns were poor IL-17 producers after stimulation with S. aureus, while in some cases IL-17 was secreted from cells isolated from infants at the age of 4 and 18 months. These results suggest that superantigenic S. aureus are particularly efficient in stimulating IL-17 production, and that the cytokine is produced from memory T cells.

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