IL-17A is a proinflammatory cytokine that has received attention for its role in the pathogenesis of several autoimmune diseases. IL-17A has also been implicated in cardiac and renal allograft rejection. Accordingly, we hypothesized that depletion of IL-17A would enhance corneal allograft survival. Instead, our results demonstrate that blocking IL-17A in a mouse model of keratoplasty accelerated the tempo and increased the incidence of allograft rejection from 50 to 90%. We describe a novel mechanism by which CD4 +CD25+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) respond to IL-17A and enhance corneal allograft survival. Our findings suggest the following: 1) IL-17A is necessary for ocular immune privilege; 2) IL-17A is not required for the induction of anterior chamber-associated immune deviation; 3) Tregs require IL-17A to mediate a contact-dependent suppression; 4) corneal allograft Tregs suppress the efferent arm of the immune response and are Ag specific; 5) Tregs are not required for corneal allograft survival beyond day 30; and 6) corneal allograft-induced Treg-mediated suppression is transient. Our findings identify IL-17A as a cytokine essential for the maintenance of corneal immune privilege and establish a new paradigm whereby interplay between IL-17A and CD4 +CD25+ Tregs is necessary for survival of corneal allografts.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy