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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

CD4+ T cells mediate abscess formation in intra-abdominal sepsis by an IL-17-dependent mechanism.

Abscess formation associated with intra-abdominal sepsis causes severe morbidity and can be fatal. Previous studies have implicated T cells in the pathogenesis of abscess formation, and we have recently shown that CD4(+) T cells activated in vitro by zwitterionic capsular polysaccharides from abscess-inducing bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Bacteroides fragilis initiate this host response when transferred to naive rats. In this study, we show that mice deficient in alphabetaTCR-bearing T cells or CD4(+) T cells fail to develop abscesses following challenge with B. fragilis or abscess-inducing zwitterionic polysaccharides, compared with CD8(-/-) or wild-type animals. Transfer of CD4(+) T cells from wild-type mice to alphabetaTCR(-/-) animals reconstituted this ability. The induction of abscesses required T cell costimulation via the CD28-B7 pathway, and T cell transfer experiments with STAT4(-/-) and STAT6(-/-) mice demonstrated that this host response is dependent on STAT4 signaling. Significantly higher levels of IL-17, a proinflammatory cytokine produced almost exclusively by activated CD4(+) T cells, were associated with abscess formation in Th2-impaired (STAT6(-/-)) mice, while STAT4(-/-) mice had significantly lower levels of this cytokine than control animals. The formation of abscesses was preceded by an increase in the number of activated CD4(+) T cells in the peritoneal cavity 24 h following bacterial challenge. Confocal laser-scanning microscopy analysis revealed that CD4(+) T cells comprise the abscess wall in these animals and produce IL-17 at this site. Administration of a neutralizing Ab specific for IL-17 prevented abscess formation following bacterial challenge in mice. These data delineate the specific T cell response necessary for the development of intra-abdominal abscesses and underscore the role of IL-17 in this disease process.[1]


  1. CD4+ T cells mediate abscess formation in intra-abdominal sepsis by an IL-17-dependent mechanism. Chung, D.R., Kasper, D.L., Panzo, R.J., Chitnis, T., Grusby, M.J., Sayegh, M.H., Tzianabos, A.O., Chtinis, T. J. Immunol. (2003) [Pubmed]
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