To determine if IL-17 regulates Mer tyrosine kinase-positive (MerTK+) cells in Pseudomonas aeruginosa keratitis. Interleukin 17 was tested in normal and infected cornea of susceptible C57BL/6 and resistant BALB/c mice. The latter were treated with recombinant mouse (rm) IL-17; both groups were treated with IL-17 neutralizing antibody. Mice were infected, and clinical score, PCR, ELISA, and myeloperoxidase (MPO) assays tested expression of proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory mediators and polymorphonuclear neutrophilic leukocyte (PMN) infiltrate. Fas and Fas ligand (FasL) protein levels were assessed in both mouse strains, while MerTK+ cells were examined by immunostaining and cell sorting before and after IL-17 neutralization. The IL-17 mRNA and protein were higher in C57BL/6 versus BALB/c cornea after infection. The rmIL-17 treatment of BALB/c mice modified proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory mediators, but clinical score and MPO assay revealed no differences. However, only BALB/c mice treated with IL-17 neutralizing antibody showed increased disease, macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP) 2, and MPO levels. Fas and FasL protein levels, elevated earlier in BALB/c versus C57BL/6 mice, correlated with significantly more MerTK+ cells in BALB/c cornea at 3 days after infection. Neutralization of IL-17 in C57BL/6 mice elevated MerTK+ cells, while similar treatment of BALB/c mice significantly decreased them. These data provide evidence that IL-17 expression is higher in C57BL/6 versus BALB/c cornea after infection and that the latter group has more MerTK+ cells. Exogenous rmIL-17 failed to shift the disease response in resistant mice, but its neutralization resulted in worsened disease and reduced MerTK+ cells. Neutralization of IL-17 in C57BL/6 mice increased MerTK+ cells but did not dramatically shift the disease response.