The regulation of human Th17 cell effector function by Treg cells (regulatory T-cells) is poorly understood. In the present study, we report that human Treg (CD4+CD25+) cells inhibit the proliferative response of Th17 cells but not their capacity to secrete IL (interleukin)-17. However, they could inhibit proliferation and cytokine production by Th1 and Th2 cells as determined by IFN-γ (interferon-γ) and IL-5 biosynthesis. Currently, as there is interest in the role of IL-17-producing cells and Treg cells in chronic inflammatory diseases in humans, we investigated the presence of CD4+CD25+ T-cells and IL-17 in inflammation in the human lung. Transcripts for IL-17 were expressed in mononuclear cells and purified T-cells from lung tissue of patients with chronic pulmonary inflammation and, when activated, these cells secrete soluble protein. The T-cell-specific transcription factors RORCv2 (retinoic acid-related orphan receptor Cv2; for Th17) and FOXP3 (forkhead box P3; for Treg cells) were enriched in the T-cell fraction of lung mononuclear cells. Retrospective stratification of the patient cohort into those with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and non-COPD lung disease revealed no difference in the expression of IL-17 and IL-23 receptor between the groups. We observed that CD4+CD25+ T-cells were present in comparable numbers in COPD and non-COPD lung tissue and with no correlation between the presence of CD4+CD25+ T-cells and IL-17-producing cells. These results suggest that IL-17-expressing cells are present in chronically inflamed lung tissue, but there is no evidence to support this is due to the recruitment or expansion of Treg cells.

You do not currently have access to this content.